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Health Sciences profile

Associate Professor Dianne Sika-Paotonu CQS

PositionAssociate Professor Biomedical / Health Sciences (Immunology), Associate Dean (Pacific)
DepartmentDean's Department (Wellington)
QualificationsCert AT(AIT) DPH(Otago) BSc BBMedSc PGCertEdPD PGDipHELT MBMEDSC(Hons) PhD(VUW)
Research summaryImmunology, Cancer, Acute Rheumatic Fever, Rheumatic Heart Disease, COVID-19, Pacific health

Research

Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu is an Immunologist, Associate Professor in the Dean’s Department, Fulbright Scholar, Associate Dean (Pacific) / Head of the Pacific Office at the University of Otago, Wellington.

Dianne is an experienced and qualified educator and science communicator, teaching and supervising undergraduate and postgraduate students in the tertiary setting over many years. She is leading research in drug design for rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease prevention, heart health equity and infectious diseases, early cancer detection for vulnerable communities, and collaborating together with Pacific and Māori communities in Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific Region.

She has also established, competitively funded research collaborations leading as Principal Investigator across multiple projects nationally and internationally working with collaborators in Australia, USA and Pacific Regional countries such as Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands. Her leadership contributions to these interdisciplinary research projects are scientific based, equity focused and inclusivity driven utilising her Pacific health, scientific and immunological expertise.

Dianne regularly presents at national and international scientific conferences that has included the American Association of Immunologists and Australasian Society of Immunology meetings. She has also been awarded numerous awards relating to her research work and science communication efforts. She has service and leadership responsibilities within the Pacific community and has received HRC Pacific Emerging Researcher and Sir Thomas Davis Te Patu Kite Rangi Ariki Health Research Fellowships.

Dianne sits on local, national and international groups and committees and functions as chair and/or convenor for related research advisory groups, and also for funding research committees. In the past, Dianne worked at the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth Western Australia as the Scientific Lead for the Penicillin Research programme within the Group A Streptococcal Disease team based at the Wesfarmers Centre for Vaccines and Infectious Diseases.

Dianne completed her PhD in Biomedical Science specialising in Immunology at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research based at Victoria University of Wellington. While there, Dianne was a member of the cancer vaccines team and undertook work that explored the modification of these vaccines to generate stronger immune responses against cancer. Her work showed that increased numbers of cancer-killing immune cells could be generated when synthetic compounds that mimic infected tissue were incorporated into the cancer vaccine preparation. Her work also highlighted the role of specific sub-populations of immune cells in generating these cancer killing immune responses. Dianne’s work overall aimed to improve of the potency of these cancer vaccines for the treatment of all cancers.

Additional details

Dianne has received numerous awards for her research work, including the Cranwell Medal, MacDiarmid New Zealand Young Scientist of the Year-Advancing Human Health & Wellbeing, Colmar Brunton Research Excellence Award, Australasian Society of Immunology BD Science Communication award, Asia Pacific Science Technology Studies Networks New Contributions to Science Technology & Innovation Award-Indigenous studies and the Australasian Society of Immunology Buck Memorial Award among others.

Dianne was also recipient of the Royal Order Award the Most Illustrious Royal Order of Queen Salote Tupou III-Commander, awarded by the late King George Tupou V of Tonga in recognition of scientific achievement.

Publications

Bako, K. R., Reynolds, A. N., Sika-Paotonu, D., Signal, L., & Mohammadnezhad, M. (2022). Identifying factors which enhance the self-management of type 2 diabetes: A systematic review with thematic analysis. Global Journal of Health Science. Advance online publication. doi: 10.5539/gjhs.v15n1p1

Gurney, J., Stanley, J., Teng, A., Krebs, J., Koea, J., . . ., Sika-Paotonu, D., & Sarfati, D. (2022). Cancer and diabetes co-occurrence: A national study with 44 million person-years of follow-up. PLoS ONE, 17(11), e0276913. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0276913

Oetzel, J., Sika-Paotonu, D., Penetito-Hemara, D., & Henry, A. (2022). Healthier Lives Implementation Research Network for Māori and Pacific community health providers in Aotearoa New Zealand: A study protocol with an observational mixed methods design. Implementation Science Communications, 3, 122. doi: 10.1186/s43058-022-00373-4

Lao, C., Gurney, J., Stanley, J., Krebs, J., Meredith, I., Campbell, I., Teng, A., Sika-Paotonu, D., Koea, J., & Lawrenson, R. (2022). Association of diabetes and breast cancer characteristics at diagnosis. Cancer Causes & Control. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s10552-022-01654-y

Bennett, J., Moreland, N. J., Zhang, J., Crane, J., Sika-Paotonu, D., Carapetis, J., Williamson, D. A., & Baker, M. G. (2022). Risk factors for group A streptococcal pharyngitis and skin infections: A case control study. Lancet Regional Health: Western Pacific, 26, 100507. doi: 10.1016/j.lanwpc.2022.100507

Sika-Paotonu, D., Beaton, A., & Carapetis, J. (2018). Epidemiology and global burden of rheumatic heart disease. In A. J. Camm, T. F. Lüscher, G. Maurer & P. W. Serruys (Eds.), The ESC textbook of cardiovascular medicine. (3rd ed.) Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. doi: 10.1093/med/9780198784906.003.0065

Chapter in Book - Research

Sika-Paotonu, D., Beaton, A., Raghu, A., Steer, A., & Carapetis, J. (2017). Acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease. In J. J. Ferretti, D. L. Stevens & V. A. Fischetti (Eds.), Streptococcus pyogenes: Basic biology to clinical manifestations. (pp. 771-826). Oklahoma, OK: University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK425394/

Chapter in Book - Research

Bako, K. R., Reynolds, A. N., Sika-Paotonu, D., Signal, L., & Mohammadnezhad, M. (2022). Identifying factors which enhance the self-management of type 2 diabetes: A systematic review with thematic analysis. Global Journal of Health Science. Advance online publication. doi: 10.5539/gjhs.v15n1p1

Journal - Research Article

Bennett, J., Moreland, N. J., Zhang, J., Crane, J., Sika-Paotonu, D., Carapetis, J., Williamson, D. A., & Baker, M. G. (2022). Risk factors for group A streptococcal pharyngitis and skin infections: A case control study. Lancet Regional Health: Western Pacific, 26, 100507. doi: 10.1016/j.lanwpc.2022.100507

Journal - Research Article

Gurney, J., Stanley, J., Teng, A., Krebs, J., Koea, J., . . ., Sika-Paotonu, D., & Sarfati, D. (2022). Cancer and diabetes co-occurrence: A national study with 44 million person-years of follow-up. PLoS ONE, 17(11), e0276913. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0276913

Journal - Research Article

Lao, C., Gurney, J., Stanley, J., Krebs, J., Meredith, I., Campbell, I., Teng, A., Sika-Paotonu, D., Koea, J., & Lawrenson, R. (2022). Association of diabetes and breast cancer characteristics at diagnosis. Cancer Causes & Control. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s10552-022-01654-y

Journal - Research Article

Bennett, J., Zhang, J., Leung, W., Jack, S., Oliver, J., Webb, R., … Sika-Paotonu, D., Harwood, M., & Baker, M. G. (2021). Rising ethnic inequalities in acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease, New Zealand, 2000-2018. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 27(1), 36-46. doi: 10.3201/eid2701.191791

Journal - Research Article

Oliver, J., Robertson, O., Zhang, J., Marsters, B. L., Sika-Paotonu, D., Jack, S., Bennett, J., Williamson, D. A., … Pierse, N., & Baker, M. G. (2021). Early release-ethnically disparate disease progression and outcomes among acute rheumatic fever patients in New Zealand, 1989–2015. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 27(7), 1893-1901. doi: 10.3201/eid2707.203045

Journal - Research Article

Filoche, S., Stone, P., Cram, F., Bacharach, S., Dowell, A., Sika-Paotonu, D., … Ormandy, J., … Thunders, M., & Dew, K. (2020). Uncovering social structures and informational prejudices to reduce inequity in delivery and uptake of new molecular technologies. Journal of Medical Ethics, 46, 763-767. doi: 10.1136/medethics-2019-105734

Journal - Research Article

Hand, R. M., Senarathna, S. M. D. K. G., Page-Sharp, M., Gray, K., Sika-Paotonu, D., Sheel, M., … Batty, K. T. (2020). Quality of benzathine penicillin G: A multinational cross-sectional study. Pharmacology Research & Perspectives, 8(6), e. doi: 10.1002/prp2.668

Journal - Research Article

Hand, R. M., Salman, S., Newall, N., Vine, J., Page-Sharp, M., Bowen, A. C., … Sika-Paotonu, D., … Carapetis, J. (2019). A population pharmacokinetic study of benzathine benzylpenicillin G administration in children and adolescents with rheumatic heart disease: New insights for improved secondary prophylaxis strategies. Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, 74, 1984-1991. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkz076

Journal - Research Article

Cornwall, J., Robinson, B., & Sika-Paotonu, D. (2016). The availability of clinical anatomy in postgraduate nursing education in New Zealand. Anatomy, 10(2), 138-142. doi: 10.2399/ana.16.022

Journal - Research Article

Delahunt, B., Sika-Paotonu, D., Bethwaite, P. B., Jordan, T. W., Magi-Galluzzi, C., Zhou, M., … Srigley, J. R. (2011). Grading of clear cell renal cell carcinoma should be based on nucleolar prominence. American Journal of Surgical Pathology, 35(8), 1134-1139. doi: 10.1097/PAS.0b013e318220697f

Journal - Research Article

Petersen, T. R., Sika-Paotonu, D., Knight, D. A., Simkins, H. M. A., & Hermans, I. F. (2011). Exploiting the role of endogenous lymphoid-resident dendritic cells in the priming of NKT cells and CD8+ T cells to dendritic cell-based vaccines. PLoS ONE, 6(3), e17657. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0017657

Journal - Research Article

Petersen, T. R., Sika-Paotonu, D., Knight, D. A., Dickgreber, N., Farrand, K. J., Ronchese, F., & Hermans, I. F. (2010). Potent anti-tumor responses to immunization with dendritic cells loaded with tumor tissue and an NKT cell ligand. Immunology & Cell Biology, 88(5), 596-604. doi: 10.1038/icb.2010.9

Journal - Research Article

Delahunt, B., Sika-Paotonu, D., Bethwaite, P. B., McCredie, M. R. E., Martignoni, G., Eble, J., & Jordan, T. W. (2007). Fuhrman grading is not appropriate for chromophobe renal cell carcinoma. American Journal of Surgical Pathology, 31(6), 957-960.

Journal - Research Article

Sika-Paotonu, D., Bethwaite, P. B., McCredie, M. R. E., William, J. T., & Delahunt, B. (2006). Nucleolar grade but not Fuhrman grade is applicable to papillary renal cell carcinoma. American Journal of Surgical Pathology, 30(9), 1091-1096. doi: 10.1097/01.pas.0000209833.69972.2b

Journal - Research Article

Oetzel, J., Sika-Paotonu, D., Penetito-Hemara, D., & Henry, A. (2022). Healthier Lives Implementation Research Network for Māori and Pacific community health providers in Aotearoa New Zealand: A study protocol with an observational mixed methods design. Implementation Science Communications, 3, 122. doi: 10.1186/s43058-022-00373-4

Journal - Research Other

Bennett, J., Anderson, A., 'Ofanoa, M., Anderson, P., Baker, M. G., Brown, R., … Eggleton, K., Harwood, M., … Malcolm, J., … Sika-Paotonu, D., … Wilson, N. (2021). Acute rheumatic fever: A preventable, inequitable disease: A call for action. New Zealand Medical Journal, 134(1535), 93-95. Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Journal - Research Other

Signal, V., Gurney, J., Inns, S., McLeod, M., Sika-Paotonu, D., Sowerbutts, S., Teng, A., & Sarfati, D. (2020). Helicobacter pylori, stomach cancer and its prevention in New Zealand. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 50(3), 397-417. doi: 10.1080/03036758.2019.1650081

Journal - Research Other

Bennett, J., Moreland, N. J., Oliver, J., Crane, J., Williamson, D. A., Sika-Paotonu, D., … Baker, M. G. (2019). Understanding group A streptococcal pharyngitis and skin infections as causes of rheumatic fever: Protocol for a prospective disease incidence study. BMC Infectious Diseases, 19, 633. doi: 10.1186/s12879-019-4126-9

Journal - Research Other

Robertson, S. P., Harré Hindmarsh, J., Berry, S., Cameron, V. A., Cox, M. P., Dewes, O., … Matisoo-Smith, E., … Sika-Paotonu, D., … Merriman, T. R., … Wilcox, P. (2018). Genomic medicine must reduce, not compound, health inequities: The case for hauora-enhancing genomic resources for New Zealand. New Zealand Medical Journal, 131(1480), 81-89. Retrieved from https://www.nzma.org.nz/journal

Journal - Research Other

Sarfati, D., Robson, B., Garvey, G., Goza, T., Foliaki, S., Millar, E., … on behalf of the participants of the Indigenous Peoples and Cancer Symposium, including Sika-Paotonu, D. (2018). Improving the health of Indigenous people globally. Lancet Oncology, 19(6), e276. doi: 10.1016/S1470-2045(18)30336-X

Journal - Research Other

Sika-Paotonu, D., Robinson, B., & Maling, T. (2017). Engaging postgraduate students undertaking clinical pharmacology using GoSoapBox for problem-based learning [Syllabus selections: Innovative learning activities]. Journal of Nursing Education, 56(9), 575-576. doi: 10.3928/01484834-20170817-14

Journal - Research Other

Delahunt, B., Bethwaite, P. B., Miller, R. J., Sika-Paotonu, D., & Srigley, J. R. (2010). Re: Fuhrman grade provides higher prognostic accuracy than nucleolar grade for papillary renal cell carcinoma [Letter to the editor/errata]. Journal of Urology, 185(1), 356-357. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2010.08.045

Journal - Research Other

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