Paul A. Gardner, MD

Associate Professor of Neurological Surgery
Executive Vice Chair, Surgical Services
Neurosurgical Director, Center for Skull Base Surgery

Paul Gardner




Paul A. Gardner, MD, joined the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh Department of Neurological Surgery in 2008 after completing his residency and fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh. He completed his undergraduate studies at Florida State University, majoring in biochemistry, and received his medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

Dr. Gardner completed a two-year fellowship in endoscopic endonasal pituitary and endoscopic and open skull base surgery. His research has focused on evaluating patient outcomes following these surgeries and more recently on genomic analysis of rare tumors. In April of 2008, Dr. Gardner was named neurosurgical director of the Center for Minimally Invasive Cranial Base Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Dr. Gardner is co-author of the recently released book Skull Base Surgerypart of the Master Techniques in Otolaryngology: Head and Neck Surgery series published by Wolters Kluwer. The book offers step-by-step expert instruction on more than 45 procedures, covering both open and minimally invasive approaches to the skull base. In addition, he is an author on over 160 peer-reviewed articles.

Dr. Gardner's publications can be reviewed through the National Library of Medicine's publication database.

Specialized Areas of Interest

Endoscopic endonasal and open skull base surgery; pituitary tumors; vascular surgery; cranial nerve disorders; minimally invasive surgery; peripheral nerve surgery.

Board Certifications

American Board of Neurological Surgeons

Hospital Privileges

Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC
UPMC Mercy
UPMC Presbyterian
Veterans Affairs Pittsburgh Healthcare System

Professional Organization Membership

American Association of Neurological Surgeons
American Medical Association
Congress of Neurological Surgeons
North American Skull Base Society
Pennsylvania Neurological Society
Pituitary Network Association

Honors and Awards

Best Doctors, Pittsburgh Magazine, 2012-2015

Media Appearances

Surgery Workshop Held
October 17, 2015
The New Indian Express

Into another dimension: A local couple uses a 3-D printer to help diagnose and treat a brain tumor
February 4, 2015
San Luis Obispo County New Times

Search for less-invasive avenue for brain surgery leads to eyelid, UPMC surgical team
February 1, 2015
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Woman has brain surgery through her Eyelid to prevent headaches after doctors said traditional surgery was too dangerous
January 27, 2015
London Daily Mail

Hard search for less invasive brain surgery leads to eyelid
January 27, 2015
Fox News

Hard Search for Less Invasive Brain Surgery Leads to Eyelid
January 26, 2015
New York Times

Pioneering Surgery Saves 5-Year-Old's Life
December 16, 2009
KDKA-TV Evening News

Rare surgery to restore Jain Acharya's eyesight
March 6, 2009

A million well-wishers, 15 doctors point guru to Pittsburgh
February 12, 2009
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

UPMC On Topic Videos

Pituitary Adenomas and the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach
Dr. Gardner explains pituitary adenoma tumors and the experience his multidisciplinary team has in treating the tumor with the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach.

Craniopharyngiomas and the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach
Dr. Gardner explains craniopharyngioma tumors and the experience his multidisciplinary team has in treating the tumor with the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach.

Chordoma Tumors and the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach
Dr. Gardner explains chordoma tumors and the experience his multidisciplinary team has in treating the tumor with the Endoscopic Endonasal Approach.

Minimally Invasive Brain Surgery at UPMC
Dr. Gardner talks about the benefits of minimally invasive brain surgery at UPMC.

Research Activities

In a chordoma exome sequencing project, Dr. Gardner has identified promising germline changes in canonical p53 related genes and  interesting tumor specific CNV losses in basic-helix-loop-helix (bHLH) E box binding (CANNTG) transcription factors critical for neural development and determination of neural cell fate. (IRX3: developmental neural pattern formation/ LEFTY1: required for let-right axis determination/ BHLHA9: syndactyly, mesoaxial synostosis/ LHX3: pituitary development and motor neuron specification/FOXH1: holoprosencephaly/RUNX3: adenoid cystic carcinoma). This is a rich subset of genes critical for normal neural development. In addition, the Notch pathway is involved which is also critical during development. All of this suggests that this tumor may arise from some sort of error in the neural development program for which these patients have a predisposition in germline DNA with CNV losses that drive tumorigenesis. 

Neurogel project is a project with Dr. Bryan Brown in bioengineering evaluating a novel gel made from neural tissue that has been found to significantly promote the regrowth of injured peripheral nerves across gaps, both in vitro and in an animal model.