Enrico Coen is a biologist who studies the mechanisms used by plants to create complex and varied flower structures. Enrico combines molecular, genetic and imaging studies with population and ecological models and computational analysis to understand flower development.
By studying model systems from the genus Antirrhinum, commonly known as the snapdragon, Enrico has created computer simulations of how plant cells and their genes interact to direct flower formation and control colour. Enrico’s research aims to define the developmental rules that govern flower and leaf growth at both the cellular level and throughout the whole plant, linking these different scales of analysis into an integrated understanding of evolution.
Enrico has written several books, including the recent Cells to Civilizations: The Principles of Change That Shape Life (2012), in which he postulates the seven ‘ingredients’ that shape life: population variation, persistence, reinforcement, competition, cooperation, combinatorial richness and recurrence. He was awarded a CBE in 2003 for services to plant genetics.
Interest and expertise
Computer science (excl engineering aspects)
Biochemistry and molecular cell biology
Biochemistry and molecular biology
Microbiology, immunology and developmental biology
Public understanding of science
Croonian Medal and Lecture
For his work resulting in a new theoretical and experimental foundation for understanding how the shapes of biological structures arise through development and evolution
For their ground-breaking discoveries about the control of flower development. They have combined molecular and genetic approaches to answer some of Darwins key questions about the natural variation of floral form and the evolution of floral development.