Max Shpak holds degrees from Cornell and Yale, including a doctoral degree from Yale University, earned in 2004. His research interests cover a range of topics in evolutionary biology and population genetics, including phylogenetic methodology, the population genetics of hybrid zones, the evolution of gene families, and life history evolution. His current research, at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, has a theoretical component involving the analysis of fitness landscapes, as well as an empirically oriented project that uses the amphipods of Lake Baikal as a case study in rapid morphological evolution. He has conducted fieldwork involving herpetology and ichthyology, among other fields. He is an avid fisherman.