Chair of Microbial Ecology, Technical University of Munich
Junior Group Leader, Overlapping Genes: Bioinformatics and Evolution
Postdoctoral researcher, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology

Website: “Convergent Wanderings”. View HERE

I am an evolutionary biologist using microbial genome and gene expression data to answer fundamental evolutionary questions and to understand microbial diversity better. I am originally from New Zealand and currently a postdoctoral researcher at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), in Germany. Prior to this I was a junior group leader at the chair of Microbial Ecology at the Technical University of Munich, and later this year I will move to the Wellcome Sanger Institute as a postdoctoral fellow.

Contact: I can be contacted at ‘[firstinitial].[lastname]“, and I’m also on twitter: @zachary_ardern.

The general theme of my papers is microbial evolution – within this there is a wide range, but my particular interest is in the molecular details of adaptation and the evolutionary origins of novelty. I also have interests in philosophical issues which I aim to continue to publish on on the side.

Zachary Ardern is a post-doctoral researcher and junior group leader in bacterial evolutionary genomics based in Munich, where he is a member of an international church. and active in organising and giving apologetics talks in various settings, from churches and IFES student events to skeptics’ groups.

‘Biologos’, by Zachary Ardern.

‘Peaceful Science’. 2019. Zachary Ardern: Resurrection and Reality.

All of my papers (as I write this) are listed at Google Scholar.
Many of the manuscripts are available in either pre-print or published form at ResearchGate.

Microbial Evolutionary Genomics
How many protein-coding genes are there in bacterial cells? How did they get there? What is the evolutionary history of young genes?

Along with colleagues working across the experiment-theory spectrum I am using computational methods to uncover the unexpected complexity of the bacterial genome, exploring a crucial question in evolutionary biology: how does evolutionary novelty arise? In particular I am interested in overlapping genes, and am developing methods for detecting and characterizing them in prokaryotes. We have also applied the same methods in viruses, for instance in SARS-CoV-2.


Online Forum on COVID-19 Vaccination:
Hosted by Rev. Dr Lyndon Drake, held on 12th of September.
The panelists are: Dr Jin Russell, Prof Matire Harwood, Dr Zachary Ardern, and Prof James Ussher. View HERE.
Lyndon: “People have questions about the vaccine, and they think that any risk with the vaccine is not worth the risk. From their point of view, Covid-19 does not seem that bad. Some people feel that death reports have been exaggerated, and that all of our Covid response is an over-reaction to what is just a mild disease. People have heard about people dying after having the vaccination, and wonder why on earth anyone would have the vaccination.”

‘Evolution by Design: Exploring an Evolution-Compatible Natural Theology’ – online lecture by Zachary Ardern, Forum of Christian Leaders, January 2021. View HERE

NZCIS/ISCAST Conversations, “Can we infer purpose in evolution?” – online talk, June 2021. View HERE

The multifaceted evidence for common descent, a single tapestry of life, has convinced most biologists since Darwin. This evidence has become stronger in the genomics era. This talk will explore what can be said about design arguments in light of the genomic evidence and purported counter-examples, and propose some ways forward for Christian scientists and apologists. In particular, I suggest a framework of ‘fine-tuning’ as helpful for both considering evolutionary theory from within a Christian worldview and introducing people to the coherence of this worldview.

Debate: ‘Naturalism or Christianity’, Reason and Science Society debate
“Do the facts of biology support Naturalism or Christianity more?” View HERE

Article: ‘Evolutionary Scientist, Zachary Ardern, Explains Why He Believes in Christ’s Resurrection’, Bishop’s Encyclopedia of Religion, Society and Philosophy. View HERE
“I find reason to believe that there is an authoritative personal reality undergirding the universe, I believe that Jesus fulfills the Hebrew expectations of this personal reality in surprising and subtle ways, and I see evidence that he rose from the dead. Taking it together with the various strands of my life and experience of the world, I find the Resurrection compelling as a historical event and a foundation for hope. I am also a scientist and find my scientific worldview and practice to cohere well with my faith in the God revealed in Jesus, and so I am a confessing scientist.”