Paul grew up on a dairy farm within a geothermal region in New Zealand which stimulated his interest in animals and microbial life in extreme environments. This in turn led him to studying Animal Science and Microbiology at Massey University (Palmerston North, New Zealand). After completing undergraduate studies, Paul obtained a position at the AgResearch Rumen Microbiology laboratory (Palmerston North) as part of a team studying methane mitigation strategies in livestock using anaerobic techniques and molecular biology tools. Following on from the five years of work as a research assistant at AgResearch Paul gained a position as a PhD student at the CSIRO Rumen Microbiology lab (Brisbane, Australia) where he continued in the area of his interests of anaerobic microbiology and methanogenesis.
Upon completion of his doctoral studies he obtained a position at the Australian Centre for Ecogenomics (ACE) studying methanogenic microorganisms from deep aquifers of Australian inland basins and other anaerobic environments. During his time at ACE Paul has gained Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA) and Future Fellowship (FF) grants, allowing him to continue his research into microbial mediated methane cycling. Also at ACE, he continues to develop his anaerobic microbiology, molecular and metagenomic skills to elucidate these recalcitrant methane cycling processes occurring in natural and engineered environments.