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Dr. Adrian Christopher Brennan

Assistant Professor

BA (Hons) Biological Sciences Oxford, D.Phil. Plant Sciences Oxford

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Assistant Professor in the Department of Biosciences  



2018 – now 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), University of Oxford, UK “Population genetics of sporophytic self-incompatibility (SSI) in the British colonising species, Senecio squalidus

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

Other Activities

Durham Botanic Garden Biosciences Research Demonstration Plot 2017 to now: Flax common garden experiment.

Durham Schools Science Festival Exhibition 2015 to 2018: How plants find a mate.

Associate editor for AoB Plants:

Associate editor for Evolutionary Ecology:

Associate editor for Web Ecology:

Reviewing for scientific journals:

Research Interests

I am interested in the evolution of genomes and quantitative trait architecture in response to a range of selection pressures. I have experience studying this question in a range of the contexts including; hybridization, speciation, invasiveness, and breeding systems in several plant species through my postdoctoral projects. As an independent researcher in the Biosciences Department, Durham University, I have been developing new projects 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 using a combination of high-throughput DNA and RNA sequencing and growth experiments in the field and glasshouse. My other active collaborations include rapid evolution in invasive Centaurea solstitialis (yellow starthistle) and genetic variation in wild relatives and landraces of wheat and chickpea.

Available positions

Competitive NERC funded PhD project starting Oct 2022, application closing date: 3rd Jan 2022

Current group members

2021-present Josh Davies, MBiol student

2018-present Rico Habeahan, BBSRC PhD student

Past group members

2020-2021 Callum Bennett, MBiol student

2017-2020 Lewis Edwards, MSc student

2019-2020 Sarah Lunt, MBiol student

2019-2019 M Eren Tedik, ERASMUS placement from Bogazici University, Turkey

2018-2019 Pilar Suarez Montes, CONACYT Fellow

2018-2019 Katy Brown, MBiol student

2016-2020 Ramona Irimia, FCT PhD student from Coimbra University, Portugal (2nd supervisor)

2014-2018 Alireza Foroozani, Durham PhD student

2017-2018 Rue Laidler, MBiol student

2016-2018 Ellie Desmond, MSc student

  • Level 2: Evolution
  • Level 3: Genomics (coordinator), Genes and Diversity workshop, Literature Review, Research Project, Contemporary issues in the Biosciences
  • Level 4: Research Skills

Past teaching

  • Level 1: Skills for Biosciences
  • Level 2: Genetics, Molecular Biology
  • Level 3: Fieldcourse, Crops for the Future

Research groups

  • Durham Centre for Crop Improvement Technology
  • Molecular Plant Sciences


Journal Article

Supervision students