I hold a Masters degree from the Rheinische Friedrich Wilhelms University in Bonn, Germany (1996) and obtained a PhD from University of New South Wales (2001). From 2001-2004 I worked as a Senior Scientist at the biotech company Nucleics Pty Ltd. In 2004 I returned to academia as a Senior Research Associate within the Centre for Marine Bio-Innovation (CMB) at UNSW and received a fellowship from the American Australian Association in 2005. I went on to become a Senior Research Fellow after being awarded a fellowship from the Australian Research Council (ARC) (2006-2009). In December 2009, I took on a Senior Lecturer position at the School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences (BABS) at UNSW, was appointed an Associate Professor in 2013 and awarded an ARC Future Fellowship in 2014. In 2016, I became the Director of the CMB and moved to the School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES) at UNSW, where I was promoted to Professor in 2017. During 2018-2020 I formed the Centre for Marine Science and Innovation (CMSI) and directed it during this period.
I have been the Chair for Division 3 and the Special Interest Group "Microbial Informatics" of the Australian Society of Microbiology (ASM). I have been a Member of the Organising Committee for the 10th International Marine Biotechnology Conference in Brisbane (2013) as well as the Australian New Zealand Marine Biotechnology Conference in Sydney (2019). I have made on-going contributions to public policy and engagement. From 2010-2014, I was on the National Scientific Advisory Committee of the ASM. In 2015, I was elected to the Ecosystem Science Council (ESC) for a 4-year term. These prestigious professional appointments allowed me to contribute to the overall directions of the scientific fields of microbiology and ecology, engage with end-users and communicate key findings to the public.