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The event at the Petridish, in Dunedin was hosted by University of Otago Associate Prof Jesse Bering and explored the personal side of Dr Wiles, including her family, the history of her hair and what inspired her to become a microbiologist.
Dr Wiles said her interest in viruses began as a teenager, when she read The Fireside Book of Deadly Diseases.
She enjoyed having pink hair and it was a way to push against biases and to destroy the image of what a professional or a scientist should look like, she said.