Graduate School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health

Dr. Dianne Sika-Paotonu

Graduate School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health

Phone: 04 463 6150
Location: CS714, Level 7, Wellington Hospital Clinical Services Block

Dr. Dianne Sika-Paotonu

Please note: Dianne is on Research and Study Leave until July 2016


PhD Biomedical Science – (Immunology)

MBMedSc(1st Class Hons) (Molecular Pathology)

PGDipPH (Public Health)

BBMedSc (Molecular Pathology)

BSc (Physiology)

Cert (Anesthetic Technology)


Dr Dianne Sika-Paotonu joined the Victoria University of Wellington Graduate School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health as a Lecturer in 2011. She has completed her PhD in Biomedical Science specializing in Immunology (VUW), Master’s degree in Molecular Pathology awarded with 1st Class Honors (VUW), BBMedSc also in Molecular Pathology (VUW), BSc in Physiology (VUW) and Certificate in Anesthetic Technology (AUT).
Dianne’s PhD was carried out at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research where she was a member of the cancer vaccines team. Dianne’s work explored the modification of these vaccines to stimulate the immune system to destroy cancer cells and launch stronger immune responses against tumours. Her work showed that increased numbers of cancer-killing immune cells could be generated when synthetic compounds that mimic infected tissue are incorporated into the cancer vaccine preparation.  Her work also highlighted the role of specific sub-populations of immune cells in generating these cancer killing immune responses. Dianne’s work overall aimed to improve of the potency of these cancer vaccines for the treatment of all cancers.
Dianne has received numerous awards for her PhD work, including the MacDiarmid New Zealand Young Scientist of the Year (Advancing Human Health & Wellbeing category), Colmar Brunton Research Excellence Award, Australasian Society of Immunology BD Science Communication award, Asia Pacific Science Technology Studies Networks New Contributions to Science Technology & Innovation Award-Indigenous studies and the Australasian Society of Immunology Buck Memorial Award among others.
Dianne’s research interests include the areas of Public Health, Immunology and Cancer. Dianne is of Tongan descent and also holds strong interests in areas of health research relevant to Pacific populations living in New Zealand.

Journal Contributions

Petersen, T. R., Sika-Paotonu, D., Knight, D. A., Dickgreber, N., Simkins, H. M., Hermans, I. F. (2011). Exploiting the Role of Endogenous Lymphoid-Resident Dendritic Cells in the Priming of NKT Cells and CD8+ T Cells to Dendritic Cell-Based Vaccines. PLoS ONE 6 (3), e17657.

Delahunt, B., Sika-Paotonu, D., Bethwaite, Jordan, W. T., P. B., Magi-Galluzzi, C., Zhou, M., Samaratunga, H., Srigley, J. R. (2011). Grading of clear cell renal carcinoma should be based upon nucleolar prominence. American Journal of Surgical Pathology 35 (8), 1134-1139.

Delahunt, B., Srigley, J. R., D., Bethwaite, P. B., Miller, R. J., Sika-Paotonu, D.  (2010): Re Fuhrman grade provides higher prognostic accuracy than nucleolar grade for papillary renal cell carcinoma, Letter to the Editor. Journal of Urology. 183, 2143-2147.

Petersen, T. R., Sika-Paotonu, D., Knight, D. A., Dickgreber, N., Farrand, K. J., Ronchese, F., Hermans, I. F. (2010). Potent anti-tumour responses to immunization with dendritic cells loaded with tumour tissue and an NKT cell ligand. Immunology and Cell Biology 88, 596-604.

Sika-Paotonu, D., Bethwaite, P. B., McCredie, M. R., Jordan, W. T., Delahunt, B. (2006). Nucleolar grade but not Fuhrman grade is applicable to renal cell carcinoma. American Journal of Surgical Pathology. 30 (9), 1091-1096. Selected for republication in the Urological Survey section of Journal of Urology (2007). 178, 79-81. This highlights 5 to 10 influential publications per issue.

Delahunt, B., Sika-Paotonu, D., Bethwaite, P. B., McCredie, M. R., Martignoni, G., Eble, J. N., Jordan, W. T. (2007). Fuhrman grading is not appropriate for chromophobe renal cell carcinoma. American Journal of Surgical Pathology. 31, 957-960.