Brent is Director of the University and Jepson Herbaria at UC Berkeley, as well as professor in the Department of Integrative Biology, where he teaches phylogenetic systematics and plant diversity. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1984, then was on the faculty at Duke University for nine years before moving to UC Berkeley in 1993. His research interests are in the systematics, evolution, and ecology of bryophytes, with special concentration on the flora of California and Moorea. He is especially interested the diverse temperate moss genus Tortula, a model system for studies of desiccstion tolerance, as well as the tropical moss family Calymperaceae which is the largest moss family on Moorea. In addition, he works on the phylogeny of green plants and the theory of systematics. He applies methods ranging from field work through microscopy, growth and physiological experiments, DNA sequencing, and genomics. He has been teaching since 1994 in the UC Berkeley undergraduate class held on Moorea each fall semester.