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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 an Immunologist, Senior Lecturer in the Department of Pathology & Molecular Medicine, Fulbright Scholar, Associate Dean (Pacific)/Head of the Pacific Office at the University of Otago, Wellington. She is the scientific lead for competitively funded research projects and collaborations for Rheumatic Fever and Cancer, to develop a new Penicillin for Rheumatic Fever prevention, and exploring early Cancer detection methods within the resource constrained setting. Dianne is of Tongan heritage and works closely in collaboration and partnership with Pacific and Māori communities in Aotearoa New Zealand and the Pacific Region and has established collaborations across Oceania and the USA. Her leadership contributions within the research setting as Principal Investigator are scientific based, equity focused and inclusivity driven utilising her Pacific health and immunological expertise. Dianne is also an experienced and qualified science educator and communicator, teaching and supervising undergraduate and postgraduate students in the tertiary setting over many years.

Dianne presents research work at international scientific conferences and includes 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 is an HRC Pacific Emerging Research Fellow, and recipient of the Sir Thomas Davis Te Patu Kite Rangi Ariki Health Research Fellowship. 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 has worked at the Telethon Kids Institute in Perth Western Australia 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 completed her PhD in Biomedical Science specializing in Immunology at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research while 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.

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.

Dianne’s key areas of research focus include Immunology, Rheumatic Fever, Cancer and Pharmacology with an emphasis on Pacific Health related areas of relevance to Pacific communities in Aotearoa New Zealand and in the Pacific Region. Dianne is an Honorary Research Associate with Victoria University of Wellington, and a Research Associate of the Maurice Wilkins Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery, University of Auckland.

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Publications

Sika-Paotonu, D. (2021). The integration of immunology based pharmacological elements for health sciences education. Journal of Immunology, 206(Suppl. 1), 54.24. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D., Patel, J., Reed, K., McTavish, A., Humphries, F., & Motu, L. (2021). Immunology education within an undergraduate program for health sciences education. Journal of Immunology, 206(Suppl. 1), 54.23. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D., Walton, M., Faavae, S., Tagi, S., & Guilford, P. (2021). Diagnostic approaches for early cancer detection in Pacific youth using ctDNA technology. Journal of Immunology, 206(Suppl. 1), 26.21. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D. (2021). Active learning strategies incorporating Immunology based teaching examples for health sciences education. Journal of Immunology, 206(Suppl. 1), 54.22. [Abstract]

Sika-Paotonu, D., Walton, M., Finau, E., Faavae, S., Vaimoli, J., & Guilford, P. (2021). The clinical considerations for early cancer detection using ctDNA within the Pacific setting. Journal of Immunology, 206(Suppl. 1), 12.08. [Abstract]

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

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

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

Sika-Paotonu, D. (2021). A Novel approach towards drug design. Journal of Immunology, 206(Suppl. 1), 95.16. [Abstract]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Sika-Paotonu, D. (2021). Active learning strategies incorporating Immunology based teaching examples for health sciences education. Journal of Immunology, 206(Suppl. 1), 54.22. [Abstract]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Sika-Paotonu, D. (2021). Designing vaccines to combat cancer: An indigenous approach. Journal of Immunology, 206(Suppl. 1), 58.12. [Abstract]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Sika-Paotonu, D. (2021). The integration of immunology based pharmacological elements for health sciences education. Journal of Immunology, 206(Suppl. 1), 54.24. [Abstract]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Sika-Paotonu, D. (2021). Therapeutic cancer vaccines in the Pacific region. Journal of Immunology, 206(Suppl. 1), 58.11. [Abstract]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Sika-Paotonu, D. (2021). Using an indigenous framework to contextualise immunology education within the health sciences setting. Journal of Immunology, 206(Suppl. 1), 54.26. [Abstract]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Sika-Paotonu, D., Patel, J., Reed, K., McTavish, A., Humphries, F., & Motu, L. (2021). Immunology education within an undergraduate program for health sciences education. Journal of Immunology, 206(Suppl. 1), 54.23. [Abstract]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Sika-Paotonu, D., Walton, M., Faavae, S., Tagi, S., & Guilford, P. (2021). Diagnostic approaches for early cancer detection in Pacific youth using ctDNA technology. Journal of Immunology, 206(Suppl. 1), 26.21. [Abstract]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Sika-Paotonu, D., Walton, M., Finau, E., Faavae, S., Vaimoli, J., & Guilford, P. (2021). The clinical considerations for early cancer detection using ctDNA within the Pacific setting. Journal of Immunology, 206(Suppl. 1), 12.08. [Abstract]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Sika-Paotonu, D. (2020). Cancer vaccines in the Pacific region. Journal of Immunology, 204(1, Suppl.), 169.34. [Abstract]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Sika-Paotonu, D. (2020). Connecting with STEM and immunology in the classroom: The importance of role modelling. Journal of Immunology, 204(1, Suppl.), 222.34. [Abstract]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Sika-Paotonu, D. (2020). Contextualisation of immunology related STEM examples to support youth interest and engagement. Journal of Immunology, 204(1, Suppl.), 222.29. [Abstract]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Sika-Paotonu, D. (2020). Immunology based STEM outreach education efforts that support knowledge translation for Pacific college students. Journal of Immunology, 204(1, Suppl.), 222.33. [Abstract]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Sika-Paotonu, D., & Cockburn, A. (2020). The importance of cultural context in supporting STEM related immunology content for high school students. Journal of Immunology, 204(1, Suppl.), 222.30. [Abstract]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Sika-Paotonu, D., Anderson, J., Cashin, P., & Cockburn, A. (2020). Immunology that supports STEM participation for high school students. Journal of Immunology, 204(1, Suppl.), 222.28. [Abstract]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Sika-Paotonu, D., Anitelea, T., Cockburn, A., & Guilford, P. (2020). Early cancer detection using ctDNA technology: What is the relevance for Pacific communities? Journal of Immunology, 204(1, Suppl.), 159.54. [Abstract]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Sika-Paotonu, D., Anitelea, T., Faatoese, A., Laing, B., Puni, R., Vaipuna, T., & Guilford, P. (2020). ctDNA for early cancer diagnosis in Pacific communities. Journal of Immunology, 204(1, Suppl.), 86.51. [Abstract]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Sika-Paotonu, D., Baltazar, P., Dudley, J., Gilespie, A., Logan, M., Su, T., Tam, V., & Walton, M. (2020). The utility and appropriate contextualisation of immunology based cancer related teaching examples with Medical Sciences Education. Journal of Immunology, 204(1, Suppl.), 222.31. [Abstract]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Sika-Paotonu, D., Chandra, P., De Silva, H., Hermann, Z., Lowry, F., Papalii, S., Rajakumaran, P., Simpson, E., Walton, M., & Mitchell, M. (2020). Appropriate contextualisation of immunology based STEM and health teaching for undergraduate Medical Sciences Education. Journal of Immunology, 204(1, Suppl.), 222.32. [Abstract]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

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

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: 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

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: 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

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: 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]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: 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]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: 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]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

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]

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]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: 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]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: 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]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: 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]

Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

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