Associate Professor Nikki Moreland
BSc Waik., PhD Auck.
Dr Nikki Moreland is an Associate Professor in Infection and Immunity and a Principle Investigator of the Maurice Wilkins Centre 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 and her team study antibodies and the central role these molecules have in our immune response to infection. They investigate how a functional antibody response protects us against infection following exposure to a pathogen. Yet in some cases, when the immune response is not properly controlled, a mistargeted antibody response be harmful. The goal of this work is to inform the design of novel antibody-based diagnostic tests and safe and effective vaccines.
The team’s major research focus is rheumatic fever, a serious autoimmune disease that can develop after an untreated Strep A infection. Globally, Strep A 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 team are using a range of technologies to profile antibodies and immune responses in Strep A and rheumatic fever to improve understanding of the disease and contribute to the development of better diagnostics. They are also involved in Strep A vaccine development and use a suite of techniques to map functional antibody responses following Strep A infection.
In March 2020 the team turned their expertise to SARS-CoV-2 and are part of collaborative efforts to study antibody responses in COVID-19 in New Zealand.
Current lab members
- Dr Reuben McGregor, Research fellow
- Dr Natalie Lorenz, Research fellow
- Dr Prachi Sharma, Research technician
- Aimee Paterson, Research technician
- Alana Whitcombe, PhD candidate
- Lauren Carlton, PhD candidate
- Francis Middleton, PhD candidate
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)
- Whitcombe, A. L., Hanson-Manful, P., Jack, S., Upton, A., Carr, P. A., Williamson, D. A., ... Moreland, N. J. (2020). Development and Evaluation of a New Triplex Immunoassay That Detects Group A Streptococcus Antibodies for the Diagnosis of Rheumatic Fever. Journal of clinical microbiology, 58 (9).10.1128/jcm.00300-20
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Alana Whitcombe, Thomas Proft
- Wilson, N. J., Concannon, A., Malcolm, J., Davidkova, S., Martin, W. J., Webb, R. H., & Moreland, N. J. (2020). The Treatment of Acute Rheumatic Fever: Novel Use of Hydroxychloroquine. Pediatric Infectious Disease Journal, 39 (7), e120-e122. 10.1097/INF.0000000000002647
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Rachel Webb
- McGregor, R., Whitcombe, A. L., Sheen, C. R., Dickson, J. M., Day, C. L., Carlton, L. H., ... Bennett, J. (2020). Collaborative networks enable the rapid establishment of serological assays for SARS-CoV-2 during nationwide lockdown in New Zealand. PeerJ, 810.7717/peerj.9863
Other University of Auckland co-authors: Reuben McGregor, James Dickson, Shaun Lott
- 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
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