Dr Nikki Moreland

BSc Waik., PhD Auck.


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
  • Dr Jeremy Raynes, postdoctoral research fellow
  • Mei Lin Tay, 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)

  • 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
  • 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
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Thomas Proft, Paul Young, Jeremy Raynes
  • Jack, S., Moreland, N. J., Meagher, J., Fittock, M., Galloway, Y., & Ralph, A. P. (2019). Streptococcal Serology in Acute Rheumatic Fever Patients: Findings From 2 High-income, High-burden Settings. The Pediatric infectious disease journal, 38 (1), e1-e6. 10.1097/inf.0000000000002190
  • Jones, S., Moreland, N. J., Zancolli, M., Raynes, J., Loh, J. M. S., Smeesters, P. R., ... Goldblatt, D. (2018). Development of an opsonophagocytic killing assay for group a streptococcus. Vaccine, 36 (26), 3756-3763. 10.1016/j.vaccine.2018.05.056
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: John Fraser, Jacelyn Loh, Jeremy Raynes
  • Sikder, S., Williams, N. L., Sorenson, A. E., Alim, M. A., Vidgen, M. E., Moreland, N. J., ... Norton, R. E. (2018). Group G Streptococcus Induces an Autoimmune Carditis Mediated by Interleukin 17A and Interferon γ in the Lewis Rat Model of Rheumatic Heart Disease. The Journal of infectious diseases, 218 (2), 324-335. 10.1093/infdis/jix637
  • Hanson-Manful, P., Whitcombe, A. L., Young, P. G., Atatoa Carr, P. E., Bell, A., Didsbury, A., ... Moreland, N. J. (2018). The novel Group A Streptococcus antigen SpnA combined with bead-based immunoassay technology improves streptococcal serology for the diagnosis of acute rheumatic fever. Journal of Infection, 76 (4), 361-368. 10.1016/j.jinf.2017.12.008
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/43377
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Thomas Proft, Paul Young, Rod Dunbar, Alicia Didsbury, Alana Whitcombe
  • Oliver, J., Malliya Wadu, E., Pierse, N., Moreland, N. J., Williamson, D. A., & Baker, M. G. (2018). Group A Streptococcus pharyngitis and pharyngeal carriage: A meta-analysis. PLoS neglected tropical diseases, 12 (3)10.1371/journal.pntd.0006335
  • Raynes, J. M., Young, P. G., Proft, T., Williamson, D. A., Baker, E. N., & Moreland, N. J. (2018). Protein adhesins as vaccine antigens for Group A Streptococcus. Pathogens and disease, 76 (2).10.1093/femspd/fty016
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/44799
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Thomas Proft, Paul Young, Jeremy Raynes


Contact details

Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 502 - Bldg 502
Level 3, Room 301J
New Zealand

Web links