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Dr Adrian Brennan

Associate Professor

Associate Professor in the Department of Biosciences



2023 – now Associate Professor, University of Durham, UK

2018 – 2023 Assistant Professor, University of Durham, UK

2013 – 2018 Research Fellow in Plant Sciences, University of Durham, UK

2011 – 2013 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Estación Biológica de Doñana (EBD-CSIC), Sevilla, Spain

2010 – 2011 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, UK

2007 – 2010 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of St Andrews, UK

2004 – 2007 Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Bristol, UK


1999 – 2003 DPhil (PhD) in Plant Sciences, University of Oxford, UK 

1996 – 1999 BA Biological Sciences Honours Degree, University of Oxford, UK

Research Interests

I am interested in the genomic basis of adaptive trait variation and its evolution in response to a range of selection pressures. I have experience studying this question in a range of the contexts including: speciation, hybridization, invasiveness, and breeding systems in several plant species. At Durham Biosciences, I conduct studies in the genus Linum (flax/linseed) to test how selection shapes the genetic architecture of a range of traits including: distylous breeding systems, local adaption, and domestication traits by combing genomics approaches with field and glasshouse experiments. My other active collaborations include studies of Haeterina spp. (rubyspot damselflies) and invasive Centaurea solstitialis (yellow starthistle) and genetic variation in wild relatives and landraces of rice and chickpea.

Supervisory availability

I am looking for interested PhD and Master candidates for projects in the following topics. Please contact me to discuss further. 

Development of flax wild relative genetic genomic resources

The importance of location of origin for wildflower seed mixes


Level 2: Evolution

Level 3: Genomics (coordinator), Genes and Diversity workshop, Literature Review, Research Project, Contemporary issues in the Biosciences

Level 4: Research Skills

Committees and Collegiality

Biosciences Academic Lead of the Durham Genomics and Bioinformatics Facility since 2024

Biosciences Academic Director of Durham Botanic Garden since 2022

Biosciences Academic Advice Coordinator since 2018 

Biosciences Deputy International Exchange Coordinator since 2023

Associate editor for: Frontiers in Plant Science; AoB Plants; Evolutionary Ecology; Web Ecology 



Journal Article

Supervision students