Dr Nikki Moreland

BSc Waik., PhD Auck.

Biography

Dr Nikki Moreland is a Senior Lecturer in Immunology and joined the faculty as a member of staff in 2016. Nikki obtained her PhD from the University of Auckland and was previously a research fellow in the School of Biological Sciences, Auckland and Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore. She has also held positions in the British pharmaceutical industry bringing a translational element to her research. 

 

Research | Current

Dr Moreland’s laboratory studies the mechanisms that drive antibody specificity using a combination of protein biochemistry and molecular biology. The laboratory seeks to better understand how a functional antibody repertoire can protect against infection, yet dysregulation of the immune system produces autoantibodies that can attack the body’s own tissues.

The major research focus of the laboratory is rheumatic fever, an autoimmune disease that can develop after an untreated Group A Streptococcus infection. Globally, Group A Streptococcus is placed in the ‘top 10’ infectious causes of human death. The rates of rheumatic fever in Māori and Pacific children in New Zealand are amongst the highest in the world, and the disease pathology is poorly understood. 

The laboratory is profiling the antibody repertoires of patients with rheumatic fever using a variety of technologies including high content protein arrays and antibody phage display. Mapping the antibody specificities in rheumatic fever will improve understanding of the disease and contribute to the development of better diagnostics. 

The group is also involved in efforts to develop new vaccines for Group A Streptococcus. Biochemical and biophysical techniques are used to elucidate the molecular mechanisms by which antibodies recognise potential vaccine antigens to inform vaccine design.

Current lab members 

  • Dr Reuben McGregor, postdoctoral research fellow
  • Dr Natalie Lorenz, postdoctoral research fellow
  • Prachi Sharma, research technician
  • Timothy Ho, research technician
  • Alana Whitcombe, PhD student 
  • Lauren Carlton, BBioMedSc Honours student

Teaching | Current

MEDSCI 708: Advanced Immunology (Course Director)

MEDSCI 202: Microbiology and Immunology  

MEDSCI 301: Molecular Basis of Disease

MEDSCI 314: Immunology

BIOSCI 349: Biomedical Microbiology

Areas of expertise

Antibody technology, Infectious disease

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Moreland, N. J., & Webb, R. H. (2019). Against the trend: a decrease in scarlet fever in New Zealand. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 19 (12), 1285-1286. 10.1016/S1473-3099(19)30617-6
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Rachel Webb
  • Chung, A. W., Ho, T. K., Hanson-Manful, P., Tritscheller, S., Raynes, J. M., Whitcombe, A. L., ... Oliver, J. R. (2019). Systems immunology reveals a linked IgG3-C4 response in patients with acute rheumatic fever. Immunology and cell biology10.1111/imcb.12298
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Alana Whitcombe, Reuben McGregor, Natalie Lorenz, Cristin Print
  • Baker, M. G., Gurney, J., Oliver, J., Moreland, N. J., Williamson, D. A., Pierse, N., ... Murray, C. (2019). Risk Factors for Acute Rheumatic Fever: Literature Review and Protocol for a Case-Control Study in New Zealand. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16 (22).10.3390/ijerph16224515
  • Davies, M. R., McIntyre, L., Mutreja, A., Lacey, J. A., Lees, J. A., Towers, R. J., ... Price, D. J. (2019). Author Correction: Atlas of group A streptococcal vaccine candidates compiled using large-scale comparative genomics. Nature genetics, 51 (8)10.1038/s41588-019-0482-z
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: John Fraser
  • de Crombrugghe, G., Baroux, N., Botteaux, A., Moreland, N. J., Williamson, D. A., Steer, A. C., & Smeesters, P. R. (2019). The Limitations of the Rheumatogenic Concept for Group A Streptococcus: Systematic Review and Genetic Analysis. Clinical infectious diseases : an official publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America10.1093/cid/ciz425
  • Bennett, J., Moreland, N. J., Oliver, J., Crane, J., Williamson, D. A., Sika-Paotonu, D., ... Carapetis, J. (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 (1)10.1186/s12879-019-4126-9
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Matire Harwood
  • Davies, M. R., McIntyre, L., Mutreja, A., Lacey, J. A., Lees, J. A., Towers, R. J., ... Price, D. J. (2019). Atlas of group A streptococcal vaccine candidates compiled using large-scale comparative genomics. Nature genetics, 51 (6), 1035-1043. 10.1038/s41588-019-0417-8
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/47980
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: John Fraser
  • Young, P. G., Raynes, J. M., Loh, J. M., Proft, T., Baker, E. N., & Moreland, N. J. (2019). Group A Streptococcus T Antigens Have a Highly Conserved Structure Concealed under a Heterogeneous Surface That Has Implications for Vaccine Design. Infection and Immunity, 87 (6).10.1128/IAI.00205-19
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/48205
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Thomas Proft, Paul Young, Jacelyn Loh

Identifiers

Contact details

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 502 - Bldg 502
85 PARK RD
GRAFTON
AUCKLAND 1023
New Zealand

Web links