Paul A. Gardner, MD

  • Peter J. Jannetta Professor
  • Executive Vice Chair, Surgical Services
  • Neurosurgical Director, Center for Cranial Base Surgery
  • Director, Surgical Neuroanatomy Lab

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.

[See also Gardner Appointed Peter J. Jannetta Professor.]

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 rare 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 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 upcoming book Vascular Challenges in Skull Base Surgery published by Thieme and he is an author on over 300 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

UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh
UPMC Mercy
UPMC Presbyterian

Professional Organization Membership

Acoustic Neuroma Association
American Academy of Neurological Surgeons
American Association of Neurological Surgeons
American Medical Association
Congress of Neurological Surgeons
International Federation of of Neuroendoscopy
Pituitary Network Society

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

  • Pittsburgh's Best Doctors, Pittsburgh Magazine, 2012-21

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

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

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.