So she’s fairly busy, hey. Here’s some cool vids to check out. Firstly, a couple from that animation series:
And one most NZers will remember, her role in the TV ad campaign for the ‘Great NZ Science Project’, the public consulation section of the government’s National Science Challenges project:
Alright stop, collaborate and listen to our Q&A with SiouxsieW:
I had a really encouraging and supportive family and biology teacher at school who encouraged me to go to university, At university, it was clear I loved research – I spent my summers working in different labs – so at some point someone suggested I do a PhD. That was when I realised people could do research for a living and my path was set.
I love the process of thinking of questions and designing experiments to attempt to answer them. That and the thrill of actually getting the data and analysing it. I’m motivated by the knowledge that so many people are killed by infectious diseases – it’s about 1 out of every 3 deaths worldwide – and we desperately need better antibiotics and more vaccines.
I love playing Lego and doing science experiments with my daughter. But when she is asleep, most of my spare time is spent on communicating science in some form or another, whether its blogging or writing scripts for my glowing animations.
I live in Ponsonby in Auckland, a lovely place full of cafes, bars and restaurants. Saying that, it does have a few too many homeopaths and chiropractors but I guess nowhere is perfect. We live walking distance from the university which was one of my criteria for moving here. We moved to Auckland from London in 2009 and after 10 years of taking the tube, I was ready to be closer to work. I work at the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland. The Faculty has just finished a four year building project and is looking great – we are in beautiful new open plan labs which are fantastic.
We are actually doing the project that I have dreamed of doing for years, although a scaled down pilot version with almost no budget. If money were no object, we would scale it up! We are interested in watching how bacteria evolve during infection. Bacteria have a number of really useful characteristics that make them ideal for studying evolution: they multiply really rapidly so we can measure change in a short space of time and can be stored frozen in a sort of suspended animation, building up a living ‘fossil’ record which can be regrown and analysed at any time. We are studying the evolution of a bacterium (Citrobacter rodentium) that infects mice using the same ‘modus operandi’ as food poisoning strains of E. coli do in humans. They go in one end… and come out the other! And because mice like to eat poo (more technically known as coprophagia) they easily spread the bacterium to each other. We allow C. rodentium to spread from mouse to mouse to mouse to mouse to… you get the picture, each time freezing bacteria that are shed in the poo. We now have 7 months worth of infections in the freezer and are starting the process of finding out if the bacteria have adapted in some way that makes them able to outcompete the ancestral strain. If we had unlimited funds, we would expand the environments that we are evolving the bacteria in. It would be great not to have to keep applying for money to keep this project limping along!
Please welcome Siouxsie to RealScientists. Let there be light!