Dr Siouxsie Wiles (MNZM) is an award-winning scientist with a passion for microbes, glowing creatures, and LEGO. Yes, LEGO. She’s even done a TEDx talk about it. Siouxsie heads up the Bioluminescent Superbugs Lab at the University of Auckland in Aoteaora New Zealand. She and her team make bacteria glow in the dark to understand how infectious microbes make us sick and to find new antibiotics. Check out Siouxsie’s TEDx Christchurch talk here, or the condensed version here.
Siouxsie is passionate about demystifying science and has a long history of working with artists, illustrators, and animators. She’s made short animations about glowing creatures like fireflies and glow worms with Luke Harris, created science-art exhibitions like this one and this one, and made a web series for kids about microbiology with her daughter Eve and multi-media journalist, producer, and writer Damian Christie. In 2017 Siouxsie published her first book, ‘Antibiotic resistance: the end of modern medicine?’. In 2019, Siouxsie was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to microbiology and science communication.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Siouxsie joined forces with Spinoff cartoonist Toby Morris to make the science of the pandemic clear and understandable. Described as “the poetry of the pandemic”, their graphics have been translated into multiple languages and adapted and used by various governments and organisations. You can read Siouxsie’s pandemic-related writing here and see all Siouxsie and Toby’s graphics here. Check out Gwen Isaac’s documentary Siouxsie and the Virus here.