Professor Anthony Masamu Poole

BSc(Hons) Massey, Fil. Lic. Stockholm, Ph.D. Massey


After completing a BSc (Hons) at Massey University, I spent two years as a Japanese Government Monbusho scholar at the University of Tokyo in the laboratory of Prof. Yoshiki Hotta. I completed a Licentiate degree at Stockholm University, Sweden, with Prof. Britt-Marie Sjöberg on the origin of DNA, and a PhD at Massey University, with Prof. David Penny, studying the evolutionary origin of cellular life. Following postdoctoral work at the Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution, my first position was as a Swedish Research Council-funded Assistant Professor at Stockholm University, where I also received a Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Research Fellowship. I subsequently moved to the University of Canterbury as a lecturer in Genetics. During that time, I served as Director of the Biomolecular Interaction Centre before taking up a Professorship in 2017 at the University of Auckland. I am currently Director of the Bioinformatics Institute.

Research | Current

My team's research harnesses the tools of experimental evolution, genomics and synthetic biology to study the origin of molecular systems. We are currently working on understanding the evolutionary origins of processes such as RNA editing, translation intiation, and the steps leading to the evolution of DNA itself. Our organism of choice for these studies is the bacterium E. coli, as we can evolve lines for thousands of generations in a matter of months, sequence their genomes and piece together the process of evolutionary change.


If you are interested in undertaking doctoral studies in my lab, information on PhD scholarships can be found here. If you completed your qualifying degree from a NZ university, scholarships are guaranteed if you have a GPA of 8.0.

Teaching | Current

ASTRO 200G Astrobiology

BIOSCI 210 Evolution and the Biological Origin of Life

BIOSCI 355 Genomics and Genome Biology

BIOSCI 399 Capstone: Biological Science in a post-truth world

BIOSCI 736 Microbial Genomics and Metabolism


President, New Zealand Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology 2014-2017

Royal Society of New Zealand Rutherford Discovery Fellow 2011

Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences Research Fellow 2007

Swedish Research Council Assistant Professor 2002

Japanese Government Monbusho Scholar 1995


Director, Bioinformatics Institute

Academic Lead, Auckland Genomics

Areas of expertise

Molecular evolution

Comparative genomics

Evolutionary bioinformatics

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Malik, A. J., Poole, A. M., & Allison, J. R. (2020). Structural phylogenetics with confidence. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 37 (9), 2711-2726. 10.1093/molbev/msaa100
  • Coombes, D., Moir, J. W. B., Poole, A. M., Cooper, T. F., & Dobson, R. C. J. (2019). The fitness challenge of studying molecular adaptation. Biochemical Society transactions, 47 (5), 1533-1542. 10.1042/bst20180626
  • Woolley, S., Parke, E. C., Kelley, D., Poole, A. M., & Ganley, A. R. D. (2019). Striving for clarity about the "Lamarckian" nature of CRISPR-Cas systems. BIOLOGY & PHILOSOPHY, 34 (1)10.1007/s10539-018-9662-y
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Emily Parke, Sam Woolley, David Kelley, Austen Ganley
  • Hoeppner, M. P., Denisenko, E., Gardner, P. P., Schmeier, S., & Poole, A. M. (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. 10.1093/molbev/msy046
  • Hendrickson, H. L., & Poole, A. M. (2018). Manifold Routes to a Nucleus. Frontiers in microbiology, 910.3389/fmicb.2018.02604
  • Fournier, G. P., & Poole, A. M. (2018). A Briefly Argued Case That Asgard Archaea Are Part of the Eukaryote Tree. Frontiers in microbiology, 910.3389/fmicb.2018.01896
  • Sagulenko, E., Nouwens, A., Webb, R. I., Green, K., Yee, B., Morgan, G., ... Chia, N. (2017). Nuclear pore-like structures in a compartmentalized bacterium. PLoS ONE, 12 (2)10.1371/journal.pone.0169432
  • Umu, S. U., Poole, A. M., Dobson, R. C., & Gardner, P. P. (2016). Avoidance of stochastic RNA interactions can be harnessed to control protein expression levels in bacteria and archaea. eLife, 5.10.7554/elife.13479

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 3, Room 3006
New Zealand

Web links