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

  • Hoeppner MP., Denisenko E., Gardner PP., Schmeier S. and Poole AM. (2018) An evaluation of function of multicopy noncoding RNAs in mammals using ENCODE/FANTOM data and comparative genomics. Molecular Biology and Evolution 35(6): 1451-1462. http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/molbev/msy046.
  • Sackton T., Grayson P., Cloutier A., Hu Z., Liu J., Wheeler N., Gardner P., Clarke J., Baker A. and Clamp M. (2018) Convergent regulatory evolution and the origin of flightlessness in palaeognathous birds. http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/262584.
  • Wheeler NE., Gardner PP. and Barquist L. (2018) Machine learning identifies signatures of host adaptation in the bacterial pathogen Salmonella enterica. PLoS Genetics 14(5) http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1007333.
  • Coray DS., Wheeler NE., Heinemann JA. and Gardner PP. (2017) Why so narrow: Distribution of anti-sense regulated, type I toxin-antitoxin systems compared with type II and type III systems. RNA Biology 14(3): 275-280. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15476286.2016.1272747.
  • Mesarich CH., Rees-George J., Gardner PP., Ashari Ghomi F., Gerth ML., Andersen MT., Rikkerink EHA., Fineran PC. and Templeton MD. (2017) Transposon insertion libraries for the characterization of mutants from the kiwifruit pathogen Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae. PLoS ONE 12(3) e0172790 http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0172790.