Beating the Superbugs

Experts predict that within ten years we will have run out of antibiotics.

Bacteria are masters at adapting to their environment, rearranging their DNA, even gaining new genes from their surroundings. This has allowed them to live everywhere, from boiling hot geysers to inside and on you. While the majority of bacteria are harmless, there are plenty that are not and they place a huge burden on health systems worldwide. In New Zealand a staggering 1 in 4 overnight hospital admissions are related to infectious microbes. 

At the Bioluminescent Superbugs Lab we are interested in understanding how microbes adapt to live and cause disease in their hosts. We’re particularly interested in how they might be evolving out there in the real world, and what sorts of things might drive that evolution. We’re also working with scientists from Manaaki Whenua and the University of Auckland’s School of Chemical Sciences to find new antibiotics by screening a collection of fungi for their ability to kill superbugs like MRSA and E. coli. For more information on our projects check out our website.

I want to give

Please note the name of the fund on your receipt will appear as 'Infectious Diseases Research Fund'.

Every donation, no matter how small, makes a difference to our various
research projects and we’ll endeavour to send all donors regular updates of our
progress. It costs us about $250 to test each fungus, and we’ve over 10,000
fungi to test, so your support could help us discover more of these life-saving
medicines. If you would like to ‘sponsor’ a fungi, just contribute $250 or more
and we’ll allocate you one from our collection and send you a certificate.

Credit: Arvid Eriksson

About Dr. Siouxsie Wiles

Associate Professor Siouxsie Wiles MNZM is an award-winning microbiologist who heads up the Bioluminescent Superbugs Lab at the University of Auckland. She studied medical microbiology at the University of Edinburgh, followed by a PhD in microbiology at Edinburgh Napier University and the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Oxford. Associate Professor Wiles then spent almost a decade at Imperial College London, before relocating to New Zealand as a Health Research Council Hercus Fellow in 2009. In 2019, she was appointed a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to microbiology and science communication. When the pandemic arrived, Associate Professor Wiles joined forces with cartoonist Toby Morris to make the science of COVID-19 clear and understandable. Their award-winning graphics were translated into multiple languages and adapted by various governments and organisations. Associate Professor Wiles has received many accolades for her communication work during COVID-19, including being named the Supreme Winner of the Stuff Westpac 2020 Women of Influence Award, one of the BBC’s 100 Influential Women of 2020, and the 2021 Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year.