Welcome to the gardner lab homepage!

UW Fountain

Thank you for stopping by our little corner of cyberspace! Here, you can read all about who we are and what we do. Outside of this digital address, we're physically located in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Washington in Seattle, Washington. We're part of the Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Program, the Neurobiology and Behavior Graduate Program, the Medical Science Training Program, as well as the Graduate Program in the Department of Pharmacology. Of course, we welcome your comments, suggestions, and questions. Thanks again for visiting our site!

A brief note about our research


We're generally interested in how the cell regulates protein function through post-translational modifications. Such modifications are critical to the cell because, once a protein is made, the cell must be able to control the level of activity to balance it with need. Of the various known protein modifications, we're very interested in exploring how the small protein ubiquitin is used as a modifier of other proteins to alter their stability, enzymatic activity, interactions, localization, or other functions.

Ubiquitin was discovered as a covalent modifier of histone H2A nearly 30 years ago, and has since emerged as one of the cell's most broadly utilized protein modifications. From a systems perspective, ubiquitin can be thought of as a universal cellular rheostat, deployed in an array of different configurations that are used in distinct ways to regulate a myriad of activities. And though the full extent of ubiquitin's action in the cell is unknown, it's easy to imagine that every cellular process is controlled in some way by ubiquitination. The large number of genes encoding known or predicted ubiquitination-associated proteins in eukaryotic genomes - more than 900 in humans alone - hints at ubiquitin's vast regulatory potential. Functions for a considerable number of these ubiquitination-associated proteins have been identified in a variety of organisms. Most, however, remain functionally uncharacterized. Even for those with known functions, only a handful of substrates have been identified for each, but it's likely that they target many more substrates.

So, to expand our knowledge and approach a complete understanding of ubiquitin's scope within the cell, we're interested in discovering new ubiquitination pathways, especially those that function in the nucleus to regulate chromatin-associated processes or act in novel ways. To accomplish this, we're using classical genetic and biochemical techniques, as well as a variety of new high throughput methods, in yeast. Our ultimate goal is to discover new ubiquitination pathways in yeast, and then determine if analogous pathways similarly function in metazoans.

Gardner lab news

graduation February 25, 2015

Ben Reed successfully defended his dissertation. Congratulations Ben, great job!! Ben will be joining Michael Lynch's lab as a postdoctoral fellow in the summer.

graduation May 29, 2014

Michelle Oeser successfully defended her dissertation. Congratulations Michelle, excellent work!! Michelle will be joining the Mascoma Corporation as a research scientist in the summer.

JCS cover April 30, 2014

Our seventh paper has been published in Journal of Cell Science, Volume 127, Issue 9. Great job Pam!!

CMLS cover April 28, 2014

Our review on Nuclear Protein Homeostasis has been published in Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences, Volume 71, Issue 10.

News Archives

Please see our News Archive page for past years' news.