Richard GardinerWestern Science
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    Melanized Sclerotia. [photo: Richard Gardiner]

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1. Undergraduate Teaching:
Teaching and advising undergraduate students is my primary responsibility. My goal is to provide individual assistance, ensuring that each student is academically prepared to meet the requirements of the biology curriculum. I enjoy the interaction I have with students knowing that we will both learn something new over the duration of the course. I try and instill the interest that I have in Biology to my students and hopefully spark their curiosity in one or more aspects of the discipline. The new Department of Biology at Western has many opportunities for students to explore over the course of their undergraduate studies.

My teaching responsibilities are in Introductory Biology (Bio 1201A and 1202B), Plants as a Human Resource (2217B), Introductory Mycology (Bio 3218 F – Summer Session) and Microorganisms and Plant Disease (Bio 4218a), the latter two represent areas of my research expertise.

I am also one of the counselors for the Undergraduate Biology program here at Western.

Currently I am involved in the PressWestern initiative which is exploring the use of class response pads (known as clickers) in higher education. As one of the first faculty members at Western to employ this technology I have seen how useful it can be in large class room instruction. The PressWestern consortium is currently exploring how best to implement this resource effectively in class room instruction.

2. Research:
My research interests centre around fungal cell biology.  I have worked on elucidating the structure and function of fungal fimbirae.  Analogous to bacterial pili, fimbriae are long flexuous fibrils 7 nm in diameter and up to 20 µm in length. Originally described on the anther smut Microbotryum violaceum, they have been shown to be present on a wide variety of fungi. I have also been involved with research on fungal melanin with Dr. M. J. Butler and Dr. A. W. Day. Currently I am carrying out some research into Tar Spot of maple.  In addition I have added my expertise to various other projects in the life and material sciences.

3. Ingegrated Microscopy @ Biotron
As the Electron Microscopist at the Integrated Microscopy Unit in the Biotron I provide the academic leadership for the unit.  I have over 35 years experience beginning with my initial microscopy training at Trent University, the University of Western Ontario and the University of Toronto (Dr. Frances Doane).  My PhD research relied heavily on the electron microscope to elucidate the structure and function of fungal fimbriae.  In the Microscopy unit at the Biotron I oversee the electron microscopes and train undergraduate, graduate, post docs and researchers on the preparation and analysis of their samples.  I am currently involved in projects studying fungi, chloroplasts, muscle, and nanoparticles.