Ahern’s career has focused on innovative and effective strategies to improve student learning and engagement. He is the creator of the "Metabolic Melodies", songs about biochemistry that are used as learning aids all over the world. A pioneer in online instruction at OSU, Ahern has created numerous courses and electronic resources to help students learn biochemistry. His YouTube educational videos have garnered over 3,000,000 views.
Ahern is the author of two popular textbooks. "Biochemistry" by Mathews, van Holde, and Ahern was published in 2000 by Addison Wesley (now Pearson). In 2012, Ahern and wife/colleague Indira Rajagopal, released an Open Educational Resource (OER) electronic textbook called "Biochemistry Free and Easy," which has been downloaded by more than 120,000 faculty and students around the globe. His novel work in biochemistry instruction and advising has been recognized internationally.
Serving as the Director of OSU’s HHMI Summer Undergraduate Research Program for 14 years and as OSU’s Director for Undergraduate Research, Ahern has helped hundreds of undergraduate students engage in the research enterprise in all disciplines across the university. He is the PI of a current, five-year, $1,500,000 NSF-funded IUSE grant, "The OSU STEM Leaders Program."
Dr. Ahern has also served as a Contributing Editor to Science, Genetic Engineering News, and BioTechniques and enjoys writing limericks in his spare time.