Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

Dr Dianne Sika Paotonu thumbnailC.Q.S. Cert AT(AIT) DPH(Otago) BSc BBMedSc PGCertEdPD PGDipHELT MBMEDSC(Hons) PhD(VUW)

TEL +64 4 918 5142
Email dianne.sika-paotonu@otago.ac.nz

Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu is the Scientific Lead for the Rheumatic Fever and Penicillin Research Programme based in New Zealand and the Associate Dean (Pacific) at the University of Otago, Wellington. She is also a member of the Royal Society Te Apārangi Council, National Science Challenge Healthier Lives Science Leadership Team and Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC) Pacific Health Research Committee. She holds service and leadership responsibilities within the Pacific community and is an HRC Pacific Emerging Research Fellow, and recent recipient of the Sir Thomas Davis Te Patu Kite Rangi Ariki Health Research Fellowship from HRC. Dianne is also a member of the Takiala Pacific Leadership Network within the Health Sciences Division and Pacific Academic Staff Caucus Committee for the University of Otago. She sits on numerous local and University of Otago based Committees, in addition to International Governance Boards. She also functions as Chair and Convenor for Rheumatic Fever and Penicillin related Pacific Research Advisory Groups.

Selected major projects within the Rheumatic Fever related Penicillin Research portfolio that Dianne is currently leading include: Benzathine Penicillin G (BPG) Reformulation Preferences study for children and young people receiving secondary prophylaxis with BPG, the BPG Pharmacokinetics Study in New Zealand, the Reformulation Preferences of health professionals administering BPG for Rheumatic Fever prevention and the perspectives of Families with a Child/Young person receiving BPG injections for Rheumatic Fever prevention. These projects among other, are contributing to global collaborations and efforts to reformulate BPG for Rheumatic Fever prevention. This work is also extending into the Pacific Region in partnership with Pacific Researchers and Collaborators based in Oceania.

In the past, Dianne has worked at the Telethon Kids Institute (TKI) in Perth Western Australia where she remains an Honorary Research Associate and functioned as the Scientific Lead for the Penicillin Research work within the Group A Streptococcal Disease team based at the Wesfarmers Centre for Vaccines and Infectious Diseases. Dianne is also an Associate Investigator working on National and International projects such as “Towards a new long-acting penicillin formulation for rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease” and the National Science Challenge/Healthier Lives funded work “Circulating tumour DNA for better cancer management”, among many others. She is also a member of the New Zealand based research team investigating the Immunogenetics of Rheumatic Fever connected with the Genome Wide-Association Study International Consortium.

Dianne completed her PhD in Biomedical Science at Victoria University of Wellington specializing in Immunology based at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research. 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.

Dianne has received numerous awards for her PhD and other research work including the 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.

Dianne’s research interests include Immunology, Rheumatic Fever, Immunogenetics, Cancer and Pharmacology. Dianne is of Tongan descent and also has strong research interests in areas of health research relevant to Pacific populations living in New Zealand and in the Region. Dianne is an Honorary Research Associate with the Wesfarmers Centre for Vaccines & Infectious Diseases, Telethon Kids Institute, Perth, Western Australia and Victoria University of Wellington, and is an Affiliate with the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery, University of Auckland.

^ Top of page

Publications

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. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkz076

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

Signal, V., Gurney, J., Inns, S., McLeod, M., Sika-Paotonu, D., Sowerbutts, S., Teng, A., & Sarfati, D. (2019). Helicobacter pylori, stomach cancer and its prevention in New Zealand. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/03036758.2019.1650081

Sika-Paotonu, D., & Liligeto, U. (2019). Group A Streptococcal infection, acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease in the Solomin Islands. Journal of Immunology, 202(1, Suppl.), 182.80. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D., Liligeto, U., & Guilford, P. (2019). Early cancer detection in the Pacific. Journal of Immunology, 202(1, Suppl.), 229.2. [Abstract]

Chapter in Book - Research

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

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/

^ Top of page

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. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1093/jac/dkz076

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

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

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

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

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.

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

^ Top of page

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

Signal, V., Gurney, J., Inns, S., McLeod, M., Sika-Paotonu, D., Sowerbutts, S., Teng, A., & Sarfati, D. (2019). Helicobacter pylori, stomach cancer and its prevention in New Zealand. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1080/03036758.2019.1650081

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

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

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

^ Top of page

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Sika-Paotonu, D., & Liligeto, U. (2019). Group A Streptococcal infection, acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease in the Solomin Islands. Journal of Immunology, 202(1, Suppl.), 182.80. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D., Liligeto, U., & Guilford, P. (2019). Early cancer detection in the Pacific. Journal of Immunology, 202(1, Suppl.), 229.2. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D., & Cockburn, A. (2019). Immunology as a basis for STEM related teaching that is culturally appropriate and engages underrepresented high school students. Journal of Immunology, 202(1, Suppl.), 61.15. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D. (2019). STEM knowledge translation outreach efforts: Connecting with immunology in the classroom for Pacific intermediate students. Journal of Immunology, 202(1, Suppl.), 61.18. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D., & Liligeto, U. (2019). The utility of Benzathine Penicillin G for rheumatic fever prevention in the Solomon Islands. Journal of Immunology, 202(1, Suppl.), 229.1. [Abstract]

Salman, S., Hand, R., Baker, A., Vine, J., Page-Sharp, M., Bowen, A., … Sika-Paotonu, D., … Carapetis, J. (2019). A population pharmacokinetic study of benzylpenicillin following benzathine benzylpenicillin administration in children and adolescents with rheumatic heart disease: New insights for improved secondary prophylaxis strategic. Internal Medicine Journal, 49(Suppl. 3), (pp. 6). doi: 10.1111/imj.3_14295

Hand, R., Senarathna, S. M. D. K. G., Page-Sharp, M., Gray, K., Sika-Paotonu, D., Sheel, M., … Batty, K. T. (2019). Potency: Do we need a new manufacturing standard? Heart, Lung & Circulation, 28(Suppl. 2), (pp. S52-S53). doi: 10.1016/j.hlc.2019.05.135

Sika-Paotonu, D., & Guilford, P. (2019). Cancer in Pacific populations in New Zealand and ctDNA technology for early cancer detection. Journal of Immunology, 202(1, Suppl.), 229.3. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D., Laing, B., Anitelea, T., Uiese, T., Puni, R., Vaipuna, T., & Fa'atoese, A. (2019). Supporting scientific knowledge communication and translation efforts by engaging appropriately with the Pacific audience. Journal of Immunology, 202(1, Suppl.), 61.11. [Abstract]

Oliver, J., Robertson, O., Zhang, J., Marsters, B., Sika-Paotonu, D., Williamson, D., … Pierse, N., & Baker, M. (2019). Progression of acute rheumatic fever to recurrence, rheumatic heart disease, and death in New Zealand children and youth: A cohort study. Heart, Lung & Circulation, 28(Suppl. 1), (pp. S4). doi: 10.1016/j.hlc.2019.05.013

Sika-Paotonu, D., Gu, V., Williams, G., Pinfold, E., Whyte, J., Motu, L., Anitelea, T., Yuhoi, J., & Laing, B. (2019). The utilisation of clinically relevant immunological research examples for undergraduate medical sciences education. Journal of Immunology, 202(1, Suppl.), 61.19. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D. (2019). Role modelling immunology to support STEM education outreach efforts for Pacific college students. Journal of Immunology, 202(1, Suppl.), 61.17. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D., Yang, A., Vaipuna, K., Buckley, E., Bartlett, H., Kalyanasundaram, S., & Faatoese, A. (2019). Contextualisation of immunology based teaching for undergraduate medical science students that supports knowledge application. Journal of Immunology, 202(1, Suppl.), 61.20. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D., Anderson, J., Cashin, P., & Cockburn, A. (2019). An immunological basis for improving interest and participation of underrepresented student groups in high school science classes. Journal of Immunology, 202(1, Suppl.), 61.16. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D., Anitelea, T., Uiese, T., & Cockburn, A. (2019). Engaging with Pacific communities to support effective dialogue, appropriate outreach and scientific knowledge translation activity. Journal of Immunology, 202(1, Suppl.), 61.14. [Abstract]

Hand, R. M., Senarathna, G., Page-Sharp, M., Sika-Paotonu, D., Gray, K., Batty, K. T., & Carapetis, J. (2018). Benzathine penicillin G quality and potency: Do we need a new manufacturing standard? Global Heart, 13(4), (pp. 519). doi: 10.1016/j.gheart.2018.09.501

Sika-Paotonu, D., & Tait, C. (2018). Immunology Education for English Second Language learners within a Postgraduate Nursing Science program in New Zealand. Journal of Immunology, 200(1, Suppl.), 113.18. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D., Viali, S., Naseri, L. T. T. K., So'o, F. L. T. I. A., Lameko, T. V., Punivalu, M., … Guilford, P. (2018). The application of ctDNA technology for early Cancer diagnostics in Samoa. Journal of Immunology, 200(1, Suppl.), 120.40. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D. (2018). The utilization of a clinically relevant Immunological research case example within undergraduate biomedical sciences education. Journal of Immunology, 200(1, Suppl.), 113.12. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D., & Guilford, P. (2018). Exploring the applicability of ctDNA technology as a diagnostic tool for improved Cancer care and management within the Pacific. Journal of Immunology, 200(1, Suppl.), 120.20. [Abstract]

Hand, R. M., Bowen, A., Manning, L., Salman, S., Joseph, J., Sika-Paotonu, D., … Carapetis, J. (2018). Benzathine penicillin G pharmacokinetics in a predominately Australian Aboriginal adolescent population: A prospective observational study. Global Heart, 13(4), (pp. 519-520). doi: 10.1016/j.gheart.2018.09.503

Sika-Paotonu, D., Tiatia, R., Thornley, C., Betty, B., Wineera-Parai, R., Eddie, B., Baker, M., … Carapetis, J. (2018). Understanding protective plasma levels of penicillin and monitoring antibody responses for the prevention of GAS infection in a paediatric population in New Zealand. Journal of Immunology, 200(1, Suppl.), 45.46. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D., Vaea, K., 'Ulufonua, L. K., Akau'ola, S., Aho, G., Tuipulotu, A. A., … Guilford, P. (2018). The utilization of ctDNA technology as an early diagnostic tool for Cancer detection in Tonga. Journal of Immunology, 200(1, Suppl.), 120.38. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D. (2018). The Benzathine Penicillin G (BPG) reformation studies: Towards a new penicillin for rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease [Plenary]. Proceedings of the Pacific International Health Symposium. (pp. 31). Retrieved from https://pihs.squarespace.com

Sika-Paotonu, D., & Laban, L. W. (2018). Knowledge translation for Cancer Immunotherapy and Immunology that is culturally appropriate and relevant within a Pacific context. Journal of Immunology, 200(1, Suppl.), 113.9. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D. (2018). Translating knowledge and raising awareness of Immunology related human disease mechanisms via engagement with the general public and lay audience. Journal of Immunology, 200(1, Suppl.), 113.13. [Abstract]

Monerasinghe, R., Maude, R., & Sika-Paotonu, D. (2018). What is a 'normal' women? The usefulness of labels such as 'normal' in the midwifery care of obese breastfeeding women. Proceedings of the New Zealand College of Midwives (NZCOM) 15th Biennial National Conference: One Voice: Women & Midwives: E nga Mareikura, Aro Tahi, Kokiri tahi. (pp. 10). Retrieved from https://legacy.midwife.org.nz/resources-events

Sika-Paotonu, D. (2018). The successful use of Immunology based Peer Teaching strategies within postgraduate clinical health sciences blended learning education frameworks. Journal of Immunology, 200(1, Suppl.), 113.14. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D., Viali, S., Naseri, L. T. T. K., So'o, F. L. T. I. A., Lameko, T. V., Punivalu, M., … Tiatia, R., … Norris, P., … Baker, M., & Carapetis, J. (2018). The Benzathine Penicillin G (BPG) Reformulation Preferences Study: Samoa. Journal of Immunology, 200(1, Suppl.), 45.45. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D., & Tait, C. (2018). The incorporation of Self-Directed Learning for English Second Language learners within postgraduate Clinical Health Sciences Immunology education. Journal of Immunology, 200(1, Suppl.), 113.6. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D., Tiatia, R., Sung, Y. K., Thornley, C., Betty, B., Wineera-Parai, R., … Baker, M., … Carapetis, J. (2018). The Benzathine Penicillin G (BPG) reformulation preferences study: The importance of cultural awareness and appropriate governance concerning Rheumatic Fever related research in New Zealand. Journal of Immunology, 200(1, Suppl.), 120.39. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D. (2018). Enhancing student knowledge and understanding of Immunology using integration of a clinically relevant Immunological condition within postgraduate clinical sciences education. Journal of Immunology, 200(1, Suppl.), 113.11. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D., Aho, G., 'Ulufonua, L. K., 'Ofanoa, M., Vaea, K., Tuipulotu, A. A., … Tiatia, R., … Norris, P., … Baker, M., & Carapetis, J. (2018). The Benzathine Penicillin G (BPG) Reformulation Preferences Study: Tonga. Journal of Immunology, 200(1, Suppl.), 166.68. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D., & Tait, C. (2018). The utilization of scientific language communication techniques to enhance Immunology Education for Postgraduate Clinical Health Science students. Journal of Immunology, 200(1, Suppl.), 113.10. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D., Tiatia, R., Sung, Y. K., Thornley, C., Betty, B., Wineera-Parai, R., … Baker, M., … Carapetis, J. (2018). The Benzathine Penicillin G (BPG) reformulation preferences study-edging closer towards a new Penicillin for Rheumatic Fever and Rheumatic Heart Disease. Journal of Immunology, 200(1, Suppl.), 120.35. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D., & Guilford, P. (2018). The potential application of ctDNA technology as a cancer diagnostic tool within the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. Journal of Immunology, 200(1, Suppl.), 120.21. [Abstract]

More publications...