By Siouxsie Wiles 11/12/2015

If you are looking for gifts that are a little different, and like the idea of supporting scientific research, then we have just the thing for you!

This year I’ve worked with a number of artists and illustrators to make amazing artworks out of naturally glowing bacteria. The artworks may only last a day or two but we took photos of all the pieces and, thanks to RedBubble, you can get your favourite image on a mug, t-shirt, phone cover, skirt, and more. A portion of the proceeds from each sale goes to fund my lab’s unending appetite for petri-dishes! Check us out on RedBubble here, and see the artists at work, and their amazing pieces, in this great little video:

Alternatively, you can contribute directly to my lab’s latest project: searching native New Zealand fungi for new antibiotics. We’re trying to make our way through the 10,000 fungi in Landcare Research’s collection. We’ve screened over 140 so far and have found 29 that are able to kill at least one of the four superbugs we are testing them against. Twenty dollars buys us a stack of petri-dishes to grow the fungi. Or you can splash out and sponsor an individual fungi for $250, which is how much it costs to test each one. In return you’ll get a certificate, a picture of your fungi with some info on where it was isolated from, and we’ll let you know if it was able to kill any of the nasty superbugs we are trying to kill. You can donate directly via the University of Auckland’s website here and all donations go directly to the fungi project. There’s a little more info on the project in the video below: