Associate Professor Siouxsie Wiles MNZM is an award-winning scientist who has made a career of manipulating microbes. She heads up the Bioluminescent Superbugs Lab at the University of Auckland where she and her team make bacteria glow in the dark to understand how infectious microbes make us sick and to find new antibiotics.

Associate Professor Wiles is also passionate about demystifying science and has won numerous prizes for her efforts, including the Prime Minister’s Science Media Communication Prize in 2013. In 2017 she published her first book, Antibiotic resistance: the end of modern medicine? and in 2019 was appointed a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to microbiology and science communication.

During COVID-19 Associate Professor Wiles joined forces with Spinoff cartoonist Toby Morris to make the science of the pandemic clear and understandable. Releasing their work under a Creative Commons licence, their graphics have been translated into multiple languages and have been adapted by various governments and organisations as part of their official pandemic communications.

Photo credit: Arvid Eriksson