Paul A. Gardner, MD

  • Peter J. Jannetta Professor
  • Neurosurgical Co-Director, Center for Cranial Base Surgery
  • Neurosurgical Co-Director, Pituitary Center of Excellence
  • Director, Surgical Neuroanatomy Lab
  • Co-Director, Endoscopic and Open Skull Base Fellowship

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 and molecular analysis of skull base tumors. Dr. Gardner has been the neurosurgical director of the Center for Cranial Base Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center since April of 2008 and, along with Carl Snyderman, MD, of the University of Pittsburgh Department of Ophthalmology, leads a renowned course on endoscopic endonasal surgery three times a year.

Dr. Gardner is co-author of the book Skull Base Surgery, part 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. He is also the primary editor of the recently released book Vascular Challenges in Skull Base Surgery, described as an “essential multidisciplinary guide for the prevention and management of vascular injury from master skull base surgeons,” published by Thieme. Dr. Gardner is an author on over 350 peer-reviewed articles

Dr. Gardner is an author on over 300 peer-reviewed articles. His 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

UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
UPMC Mercy
UPMC Presbyterian
UPMC Select Specialty
VA Pittsburgh Healthcare System

Professional Organization Membership

Acoustic Neuroma Association
American Academy of Neurological Surgeons
American Association of Neurological Surgeons
Congress of Neurological Surgeons
International Federation of Neuroendoscopy
North American Skull Base Society
Pituitary Network Society

Professional Activities

Skull Base Committee, AANS/CNS Tumor Section
Course Co-Director, Comprehensive Endoscopic Endonasal Course, UPMC
Course Co-Director, Complex Endoscopic Endonasal Course, UPMC
CNS Foundation Liaison, AANS/CNS Tumor Section
Member, Medical Advisory Board, Chordoma Foundation

Education & Training

  • AA, Okaloosa-Walton College, 1993
  • BS, Biochemistry, Florida State University, 1997 (Magna cum laude)
  • MD, University of Pittsburgh, 2001
  • Fellowship, Endoscopic and Open Skull Base Surgery, 2007
  • Residency, Neurosurgery, University of Pittsburgh, 2008

Honors & Awards

  • Castle Connolly Top Doctors in America, 2012-24
  • Pituitary Center of Excellence, Designated Physician

Research Activities

Dr. Gardner’s recent projects include collaboration on an update of the molecular prognostication panel for clival chordoma developed by Georgios Zenonos, MD. The research won the best paper award at the NASBS (North American Skull Base Society) meeting this past year and helped define the role of radical resection and adjuvant radiation for low and moderate grade chordomas (determined by FISH analysis). This panel is also being investigated for use by the Chordoma Foundation to identify patients with aggressive, poor prognosis tumors who would be candidates for early chemotherapy trials and multi-institutional validation.

Dr. Gardner continues evaluation of clinical cohorts of patients with skull base tumors to show impact and outcomes of treatment, largely endoscopic endonasal surgery. In addition, background work evaluating the impact of hormonal therapies on meningioma has begun in preparation for a larger scale case series.

Dr. Gardner also has a continued role as investigator for Peripheral Nerve Matrix (PNM), an extracellular matrix-derived product for nerve repair. The company (Renerva) formed about this product is continuing work through animal studies in preparation for clinical trial.

Dr. Gardner also has continued with a multi-institutional study with the University of Minnesota to studying the genetic and epigenetic makeup of chordomas and chondrosarcomas. This research is delineating genetic subgroups of chordoma and chondrosarcoma to help predict prognosis as well as target novel drug therapies. These efforts will dramatically further the pathway toward personalized treatment of these and other rare tumors.

Media Appearances

The Evolution of Endoscopic Endonasal Approach for Olfactory Groove Meningiomas
CNS Journal Podcast
January 17, 2023

After battle with cancer, Maranacook softball player back on field
Portland Press Herald
May 1, 2022

Life-saving brain tumour surgery a success for Cork teenager Aaron McMahon
Irish Examiner
July 20, 2018

Surgery Workshop Held
The New Indian Express
October 17, 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.