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Dr Max Carter-Brown

Faculty of Science and Engineering
Life Sciences
Research Supervision:

Max is an evolutionary biologist especially interested in using genomics to understand plant biodiversity. Max’s expertise also expands into wider botany, natural history, software development, and statistical modelling.

[email protected]

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View Max's ResearchGate profile

View Max's GitHub profile


Max joined ARU in November 2023. From 2020 to 2021, Max worked as a Senior Bioinformatician at the Wellcome Sanger Research Institute on the Darwin Tree of Life project, which aims to sequence the genome of every eukaryote in Great Britain and Ireland. Here, Max worked on bioinformatics pipelines and software to process the large amounts of data flowing through the project. Max also worked on plant genomics, in particular the assembly of complex plant mitochondria, and apple tree population genomics.

During Max’s PhD and beyond, he has collaborated with many institutions, including the Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh (RGBE), Royal Botanical Gardens Kew, the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland, and Cambridge Botanical Gardens. He is a research associate at both RGBE, and the Wellcome Sanger Institute.

Research interests

Max’s research interests include:

  • Plant hybridisation, especially in taxonomically complex groups and across ploidy levels
  • Host-parasite interactions in (hemi)parasitic plants, using Eyebrights (Euphrasia) as a case study.
  • Mitochondrial genome structure and diversity across vascular plants
  • Somatic mutation genomics in long-lived trees such as oaks
Areas of research supervision

Max welcomes prospective undergraduate or postgraduate students with project interests in genetics, genomics, or plant ecology.

  • PhD in Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh
  • BA Biological Sciences, University of Oxford
Memberships, editorial boards
  • Member of the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland
  • Member of the British Ecological Society
Selected recent publications

Brown, M.R., Hollingsworth, P.M., Forrest, L.L., Hart, M.L., Leitch, I.J., Jones, L., Ford, C., De Vere, N. and Twyford, A.D., 2023. Genetic factors predict hybrid formation in the British flora. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences120(16), p.e2220261120.

Challis, R., Kumar, S., Sotero-Caio, C., Brown, M. and Blaxter, M., 2023. Genomes on a Tree (GoaT): A versatile, scalable search engine for genomic and sequencing project metadata across the eukaryotic tree of life. Wellcome Open Research8.

Brown, M.R., Becher, H., Williams, S. and Twyford, A.D., 2023. Is there hybridization between diploid and tetraploid Euphrasia in a secondary contact zone?. American Journal of Botany110(1), p.e16100.

Henniges, M.C., Powell, R.F., Mian, S., Stace, C.A., Walker, K.J., Gornall, R.J., Christenhusz, M.J., Brown, M.R., Twyford, A.D., Hollingsworth, P.M. and Jones, L., 2022. A taxonomic, genetic and ecological data resource for the vascular plants of Britain and Ireland. Scientific Data9(1), p.1.

Brown, M.R., Moore, P.G. and Twyford, A.D., 2021. Performance of generalist hemiparasitic Euphrasia across a phylogenetically diverse host spectrum. New Phytologist232(5), pp.2165-2174.