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
  • 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)

  • Wilson, N. J., Concannon, A., Malcolm, J., Davidakova, S., Martin, W. J., Webb, R., & Moreland, N. J. (2020). The Treatment of Acute Rheumatic Fever: Novel Use of Hydroxychloroquine. The Pediatric infectious disease journal, 39 (7), e120-e122. 10.1097/inf.0000000000002647
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Rachel Webb
  • Raynes, J. M., Tay, M. L., By, S. H., Steemson, J. D., & Moreland, N. J. (2020). Isolation of Monoclonal Antibodies to Group A Streptococcus Antigens Using Phage Display. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 2136, 255-268. 10.1007/978-1-0716-0467-0_19
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Mei Lin Tay
  • McGregor, R., Jones, S., Jeremy, R. M., Goldblatt, D., & Moreland, N. J. (2020). An Opsonophagocytic Killing Assay for the Evaluation of Group A Streptococcus Vaccine Antisera. Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.), 2136, 323-335. 10.1007/978-1-0716-0467-0_26
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Reuben McGregor
  • Chung, A. W., Ho, T. K., Hanson-Manful, P., Tritscheller, S., Raynes, J. M., Whitcombe, A. L., ... Oliver, J. R. (2020). Systems immunology reveals a linked IgG3-C4 response in patients with acute rheumatic fever. Immunology and cell biology, 98 (1), 12-21. 10.1111/imcb.12298
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Alana Whitcombe, Reuben McGregor, Natalie Lorenz, Cristin Print, Mei Lin Tay
  • 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
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/49502
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Rachel Webb
  • 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
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Teuila Percival
  • 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


Contact details

Primary office location

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

Web links