Siouxsie Wiles

Dr Siouxsie Wiles is a research scientist with a background in medical and environmental microbiology. She has made a career out of combining her twin passions of bioluminescence (the production of light by living organisms — think glow worms and fireflies) and nasty microbes. In a nutshell, Siouxsie and her team make nasty bacteria glow in the dark to better understand infectious diseases. Originally from the UK, Siouxsie now leads the Bioluminescent Superbugs Lab at the University of Auckland. She was the 2013 winner of the Prime Minister's Science Media Communicator's Prize. Siouxsie is on Twitter @SiouxsieW

Petri dish art at the Auckland Arts Festival - Infectious Thoughts

Mar 26, 2015

As part of the thinkScience day at the 2015 Auckland Art Festival, we spent 2 hours letting kids and their families make their own bioluminescent bacterial art using just a cotton bud, a petri dish and a solution of harmless bioluminescent bacteria. Many thanks to James Dalton, Claire Honney, Hannah Read, Simon Swift and Benedict Uy for their help running this activity. Almost 200 children took part. The next day I photographed their glowing art works and put them up on Flickr for them to see. If you are in Auckland this weekend and want to come have a try, we’ll be at the MOTAT Science Street Fair on Sunday! … Read More

thinkScience at the Auckland Arts Festival – Biolumination II - Infectious Thoughts

Mar 23, 2015

What happens when a microbiologist with a love of glowing bacteria teams up with a group of artists? Biolumination II!

thinkScience day at the Auckland Arts Festival - Infectious Thoughts

Mar 05, 2015

Saturday the 14th of March sees the debut of thinkScience*, a mini-festival of science being held as part of the Auckland Arts Festival family weekend and White Night. We may be starting small, but we have something for everyone! Interested in things that go whiz/bang or got any kids or grandkids that are? Then ‘Nanogirl’ Michelle Dickinson’s early evening show in the Town Hall is for you! Prepare to have your mind blown as Nanogirl explores the wonders of cloud power, wind power, magnet power and fire power. Tickets available here. Interested in something more cerebral? In the Spiegeltent in Aotea Square will be two panels exploring how science shapes our city. The first panel will look at what makes the city work – the natural, technological, human, and the interactions between them. The second … Read More

WANTED! Artists/illustrators needed for glowing art/science project. - Infectious Thoughts

Feb 09, 2015

Are you an artist/illustrator who wants to try something different? Or do you know anyone who is? I’m looking for 8-10 people to join me for a very special project as part of this year’s thinkScience day being held during the Auckland Arts Festival and White Night. They will need to be free and in Auckland on Friday 13th and Saturday 14th of March and not be a germaphobe…. The challenge: to create a 1 metre x 1 metre art piece. The catch? The ink is actually a solution of bacteria and the ‘canvas’ a collection of petri-dishes. The bacteria the artists will be using is not dangerous, and naturally glows in the dark. This means that wherever the artists draw/paint onto the petri-dishes, the bacteria will grow. And when they do, they will … Read More

Why scientists need to step up & engage! - Infectious Thoughts

Feb 08, 2015

A few days ago, the UK parliament voted in favour of making Britain the first country in the world to permit IVF babies to be created using biological material from three different people. The vote passed by 382 to 128 – a majority of 254 – and is to amend the UK’s 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act to allow mitochondrial donation. With this technique, to prevent serious genetic diseases, involves using a donor egg which has had its nuclear DNA removed, a woman’s nuclear DNA and then a man’s sperm as normal. You can listen to me talking about this momentous vote with Kathryn Ryan on Radio NZ’s Nine to Noon programme here. The reason the vote has got some people alarmed is because the donor egg will still contain some genetic material … Read More