Brink was instrumental to the beginning of the Wisconsin maize breeding program during the 1920s. He also served as chair of the Department of Genetics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison from 1939 through 1951.
His scientific achievements include the discovery of paramutation in maize and the study of transposons. Brink was also very interested in agriculture, creating new varieties of clover and alfalfa during his career.
Brink was awarded many honors during his lifetime. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1947. He was also an editor of the Genetics Society of America's journal, Genetics, from 1952 through 1957 and served as president of the society in 1957.
Brink is the subject of a posthumous biographical memoir by his fellow geneticists Oliver E. Nelson, Jr., and Ray D. Owen and published by the National Academy of Sciences.