Professor Ant 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.

Teaching | Current

BIOINF 301 Introduction to Bioinformatics

BIOINF 703 Genome Informatics and Systems Biology

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

Areas of expertise

Molecular evolution

Comparative genomics

Evolutionary bioinformatics

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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., Poole, A., Dobson, R., & Gardner, P. (2016). Avoidance of stochastic RNA interactions can be harnessed to control protein expression levels in bacteria and archaea. eLife, 5.10.7554/eLife.13479.001
  • Poole, A. M., Lundin, D., & Rytkönen KT (2015). The evolution of early cellular systems viewed through the lens of biological interactions. Frontiers in Microbiology, 6.10.3389/fmicb.2015.01144
  • Poole, A. M., Horinouchi, N., Catchpole, R. J., Si, D., Hibi, M., Tanaka, K., & Ogawa, J. (2014). The case for an early biological origin of DNA. Journal of Molecular Evolution, 79 (5-6), 204-212. 10.1007/s00239-014-9656-6
  • Lindgreen, S., Umu, S., Lai, A.-W., Eldai, H., Liu, W., McGimpsey, S., ... Barquist, L. (2014). Robust identification of noncoding RNA from transcriptomes requires phylogenetically-informed sampling. PLoS Computational Biology, 10 (10).10.1371/journal.pcbi.1003907

Contact details

Primary office location

Level 3, Room 3006
New Zealand

Web links