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WEEK 5: Dr. Siouxsie Wiles MNZM

This week we welcomed Dr. Siouxsie Wiles, MNZM, Microbiologist, Auckland University

13.30 – 14.15 pm NZT, Friday 8 May 2020

Over the past six weeks, Dr. Siouxsie Wiles has been a mainstay in living rooms across Aotearoa New Zealand. With her pink hair and her sound and sensible advice, she has demystified COVID-19 daily for kiwis struggling to adapt to lockdown and in the process, cemented her place as one of New Zealand’s most admired female leaders. Commentators worldwide have commended the clarity with which the New Zealand government has communicated around COVID-19 and Siouxsie’s commentary across mainstream media and through columns in The Spinoff certainly contributed significantly. This week, we’re delighted to talk to Siouxsie about her COVID-19 journey and gain her insights on what sport and recreation may look like in future, as we drop down through lockdown levels.

Associate Professor Siouxsie Wiles describes herself as a microbiologist and bioluminescence enthusiast but to many she is “that pink-haired science lady”. Siouxsie studied medical microbiology at the University of Edinburgh, followed by a PhD in microbiology at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Oxford. She spent almost a decade at Imperial College London, before relocating to Aotearoa New Zealand as a Health Research Council Hercus Fellow in 2009. Siouxsie heads up the Bioluminescent Superbugs Lab at Auckland University, where she combines her twin passions to understand infectious diseases and to find new antibiotics. Siouxsie also has a keen interest in demystifying science; she is a tweeter, blogger, podcaster, and media science commentator, and has worked with artists to make living works of art for various exhibitions in Aotearoa and overseas. In 2017 she published her first book, ‘Antibiotic resistance: the end of modern medicine?’, and recently collaborated with her daughter to make a kid’s show about microbiology. Siouxsie has won numerous awards for her research and science communication efforts, including the UK National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs) 3Rs prize, the Prime Minister’s Science Media Communication Prize, and Royal Society Te Apārangi’s Callaghan Medal. She was one of three finalists for the 2018 Kiwibank New Zealander of Year award and in 2019 was appointed a member of the NZ Order of Merit for services to microbiology and science communication.


PLEASE FORWARD TO 2.25 TO START (we had a large audience so had to wait awhile for them all to load!)

This week’s moderator: journalist and commentator, Rikki Swannell!

After a fantastic effort moderating week one through four of this new series, we were thrilled to welcome Rikki back again for week five!

Rikki has been a sports broadcaster for 15 years, and now works in a freelance capacity as a commentator and reporter. She can largely be heard on Sky Sport, where she is a regular commentator on netball, rugby and tennis, and on the World 7s series, working for World Rugby. She started her career as a journalist at Radio Sport and Newstalk ZB and has covered everything from snooker and darts, to cricket and rowing, Olympic and Commonwealth Games and various World Cups. Since going it alone in 2016, Rikki has diversified to become an accomplished event MC, long form print and online writer, media advisor and trainer and web copy-writer. She has a keen interest in the business of sport, governance and media issues. Rikki has kindly provided her services free, to help this series.

Those interested in working with Rikki should contact her on We highly recommend her!

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