Paul Gardner

Associate ProfessorPaul Gardner

Department of Biochemistry, University of Otago
Julius von Haast 520
Internal Phone: 6742

Qualifications & Memberships

Research Interests

My personal research goal is the complete functional classification of all functional RNAs. It is well established that RNAs such as tRNA and rRNA play a vital role in translation. The further discovery of more RNAs that build the translational machinery, such as snoRNAs, RNaseP and MRP along with spliceosomal RNAs, was not too great a shock. What has come as a surprise to RNA researchers in recent years is the importance of RNA in other areas such as regulation. Newly discovered RNAs and RNA-related processes involving regulation include: RNA interference (RNAi), microRNAs, siRNAs, riboswitches, thermosensors, bacterial antisense sRNAs, leader elements, IRES's and frame-shift elements. Further discoveries have shown that RNA is important for defending genomes from invasive elements such as transposons and bacteriophages, for de-activating entire chromosomes, and are essential for DNA replication. Furthermore, the discovery of RNA enzymes, or ribozymes, has lead to the suggestion that early life's genetic and numerous metabolic processes were RNA-based. Yet many groups are discovering thousands of RNAs with no known function. Clearly we are just beginning to appreciate the number of central roles that RNA mediated processes play in biology. What further unrealised roles does this "dark matter" of the cell play?

Recent Publications

  • Bhandari B., Lim CS. and Gardner P. (2019) Highly accessible translation initiation sites are predictive of successful heterologous protein expression.
  • Gardner PP., Watson RJ., Morgan XC., Draper JL., Finn RD., Morales SE. and Stott MB. (2019) Identifying accurate metagenome and amplicon software via a meta-analysis of sequence to taxonomy benchmarking studies. PeerJ 2019(1)
  • Jose BR., Gardner PP. and Barquist L. (2019) Transcriptional noise and exaptation as sources for bacterial sRNAs. Biochemical Society Transactions 47(2): 527-539.
  • Sackton TB., Grayson P., Cloutier A., Hu Z., Liu JS., Wheeler NE., Gardner PP., Clarke JA., Baker AJ. and Clamp M. (2019) Convergent regulatory evolution and loss of flight in paleognathous birds. Science 364(6435): 74-78.
  • Weber LM., Saelens W., Cannoodt R., Soneson C., Hapfelmeier A., Gardner PP., Boulesteix AL., Saeys Y. and Robinson MD. (2019) Essential guidelines for computational method benchmarking. Genome Biology 20(1)