Miss Siobhan 'Alisia Tu'akoi

Bachelor of Health Sciences (First Class Honours)

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Doctoral Candidate - Doctor of Philosophy


Siobhan completed a Bachelor of Health Sciences (Hons) with the School of Population Health, University of Auckland before embarking on a PhD with the Liggins Institute. She is currently a third year doctoral student investigating relationships between early-life environmental factors and later adolescent health within the Cook Islands, as well as exploring ways of improving public knowledge regarding the importance of early-life nutrition for lifelong health.

Research | Current

The developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD) paradigm links adverse experiences in early-life stages to chronic diseases later in life. Despite having some of the highest rates of chronic diseases and related risk factors worldwide, there is a lack of DOHaD research within Pacific Islands. Siobhan’s doctoral research is based in Rarotonga, Cook Islands and aims to address this gap. In partnership with the Cook Islands Ministries of Health and Education, her research investigates relationships between early-life factors and later metabolic risk factors in Rarotongan adolescents over four years. She has also worked in partnership with local leaders, health professionals and the wider community to create a culturally-contextualised early-life nutrition resource, aiming to empower Cook Island families towards healthier futures. She hopes to contribute to improving health outcomes for Pacific Island populations and for future generations to come.


Grants & Funding

  • 2019       DOHaD Society                    DOHaD Conference Trainee Travel Award 2019
  • 2018       University of Auckland          Postgraduate International Networks Mobility Fund
  • 2017       Health Research Council       Pacific Health Research Knowledge Translation Grant
  • 2017       Health Research Council       Pacific Health Research PhD Scholarship                               
  • 2016       Ministry of Health                 ANIVA Scholarship                         
  • 2015       University of Auckland          Summer Research Scholarship 
  • 2013       University of Auckland          Chancellor's Award for Top Maori and Pacific Island Scholars                 


  • 2019       DOHaD Society                    DOHaD Society Trainee Award
  • 2019       University of Glasgow           Universitas 21 Top Presentation Award
  • 2018       University of Melbourne        Universitas 21 Outstanding Presentation Award               
  • 2018       University of Auckland          Runner up, Open Heat Three Minute Thesis
  • 2017       Liggins Institute                   First Place, Three Minute Thesis               
  • 2017       HealtheX Conference            Second runner up, Elevator Pitch

Recent Presentations/Panels

  • 2019       DOHaD World Congress              Taking DOHaD to the people of the Cook Islands
  • 2019       DOHaD Trainee Workshop           DOHaD in LMICs: A systematic review exploring gaps in DOHaD studies
  • 2019       U21 Health Sciences                   Oraanga Meitaki: Early-life health for lifelong wellbeing in the Cook Islands
  • 2019       Cook Islands Health Conference  Supporting awareness of early-life nutrition concepts
  • 2018       U21 Health Sciences                   Early-life NCD risk in Rarotonga, Cook Islands
  • 2018       U21 Health Sciences Panel          Unique perspectives of PhD students in indigenous research
  • 2018       Cook Islands Health Conference  The significance of DOHaD for small island developing states

Areas of expertise

  • Pacific Health
  • DOHaD in Pacific settings
  • Knowledge Translation

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Tu'akoi SA, Vickers, M., Tamarua Herman, N., Tairea, K., Aung, Y. Y. M., & Bay, J. (2019). Supporting early-life health and wellbeing in the Cook Islands communities. Paper presented at 21st Annual Cook Islands Health Conference 2019, Rarotonga, Cook Islands. 10 July - 12 July 2019. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Mark Vickers, Jacquie Bay


Contact details

Alternative contact


Primary office location

M&HS BUILDING 503 - Bldg 503
Level 2, Room 201
New Zealand

Web links