Summary of research interests: Dr Paterson spent her first 18 years in Albany, Western Australia, and then went to Curtain University and gained a Bachelor of Applied Science. She then spent a number of years travelling the globe on a variety of small vessels. She settled in England and worked at Southampton Institute, a university sector college. During this time she completed a Masters in Research and looked at the relationship between diatoms (a microscopic plant) and heavy metal contamination. Dr Paterson returned to Australia in 2000, and in 2002 began a PhD at the University of Western Australia examining the distribution of microscopic animals and their impact on microscopic plants in the Leeuwin Current - the only current of its type to flow towards the poles. Following this a postdoctoral position with the University of Tasmania allowed Dr Paterson the chance to live in Antarctica for a year. Her study investigated the role of viruses and bacteria in annual sea ice.