John Brookfield received his BA in Zoology from the University of Oxford 1976. He received his Ph.D. in Population Genetics at the University of London in 1980. Following a post as Research Demonstrator in Genetics at the University College of Swansea from 1979-1981, he became a Visiting Fellow in the Laboratory of Genetics at The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, North Carolina from 1981-1983. Returning to the UK, he became a Lecturer in Genetics at the University of Leicester from 1983-1986. He is now Professor of evolutionary genetics at the University of Nottingham.
John Brookfield is an invited Fellow of the Society of Biology was appointed Fellow of the Institute of Biology in 2009, and has served as Vice-President (External Relations) of the Genetics Society. He served on the UK RAE panel for the assessment of Biological Sciences in both 2001 and 2008.