I completed my PhD in microbiology at The University of New South Wales in 1999. From here, I was awarded a highly prestigious Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship and conducted a post-doc in Munich, Germany from 2000-2001. I was then awarded an ARC Australian Post-doctoral Fellowship to return to UNSW in 2002. I subsequently was award a 5 year ARC Fellowship and since then he has led research on modern microbial mats and stromatolites - complex geomicrobial communities that are analogues of the very earliest evidence of life on Earth. Using these ancient life forms as blueprints, I have also consulted with NASA to better focus efforts on the search for signals that may help in the detection of life on other planets. Nationally, my research has been recognised with the award of the 2005 Eureka Prize for Interdisciplinary Scientific Research, Australia's premier science awards. Other awards include Kanagawa Museum of Natural History Award (2003), Japan Society for the Promotion of Science Invitation Fellowship (2004), and an Australia Institute of Political Science Tall Poppy Award (2005).