University of Auckland Associate Professor Siouxsie Wiles has been named 2021 New Zealander of the Year for her tireless work in “[making] the science of the pandemic clear and understandable.”
In a press release, the awarding organisation also commended her for stoicism “in the face of considerable criticism – on her authority, on her appearance, on her gender.”
Dr Wiles has been a prominent figure on news media site The Spinoff, working with cartoonist Toby Morris to create accessible and reliable COVID information for the general public. The pair collaborated on science communication projects that Managing Editor Duncan Grieve says “echoed profoundly beyond our shores”, and ultimately caught attention from the World Health Organisation.
At the University, Dr Wiles heads the Bioluminescent Superbugs Lab where she and her team make bacteria glow in the dark to understand how infectious microbes make us sick, and to find new antibiotics.