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Cambridge Immunology Network

Vaccine induced immunity
Immune correlates of natural and vaccine induced immunity
Viral evasion of host responses


Our laboratory is focussed in part on natural resistance to RNA viral diseases, and the translation of this knowledge in the development of novel vaccines. We are currently funded to use a strategy of reverse vaccination to identify conserved B-cell epitopes on the envelopes of viruses such as Ebola, Lassa Fever Virus, Marburg Virus, HIV, HCV, Noroviruses and RNA viruses which have the potential of persisting by evading host defences.


Key publications: 

Maori E, Navarro IC, Boncristiani H, Seilly DJ, Rudolph KLM, Sapetschnig A, Lin CC, Ladbury JE, Evans JD, Heeney JL, Miska EA. A Secreted RNA Binding Protein Forms RNA-Stabilizing Granules in the Honeybee Royal Jelly. Mol Cell. 2019 May 2;74(3):598-608.


Asbach B, Kibler K, Köstler J, Perdiguero B, Yates N, Stanfield-Oakley S, Tomaras G, Kao SK, Foulds K, Roederer M, Seaman M, Montefiori D, Parks R, Ferrari G, Forthal D, Phogat S, Tartaglia J, Barnett S, Self S, Gottardo R, Cristillo A, Weiss D, Galmin L, Ding S, Heeney J, Esteban M, Jacobs B, Pantaleo G, and Wagner R. Priming with a potent HIV-1 DNA vaccine frames the quality of immune responses prior to a poxvirus and protein boost. J Virology. 2019 Jan 17;93(3). pii: e01529-18


Kibler K, Asbach B, Perdiguero B, Arriaza JG, Yates N, Parks R, Stanfield-Oakley S, Ferrari G, Montefiori D, Tomaras G, Roederer M, Foulds K, Forthal D, Seaman M, Self S, Gottardo R, Phogat S, Tartaglia J, Barnett S, Cristillo A, Weiss D, Galmin L, Ding S, Heeney J, Esteban M, Wagner R, Pantaleo G, and Jacobs B. Replication-competent NYVAC-KC yields improved immunogenicity to HIV-1 antigens in rhesus macaques, compared to non-replicating NYVAC.  J Virology. 2019 Jan 17;93(3). pii: e01513-18.


Bogers WMJM, Barnett SW, Oostermeijer H, Nieuwenhuis IG, Beenhakker N, Mortier D, Mooij P, Koopman G, Remarque E, Martin G, Lai RP, Dey AK, Sun Y, Burke B, Ferrari G, Montefiori D, Martin L, Davis D, Srivastava I, Heeney JL. Increased, Durable B-Cell and ADCC Responses Associated with T-Helper Cell Responses to HIV-1 Envelope in Macaques Vaccinated with gp140 Occluded at the CD4 Receptor Binding Site. J Virology. 2017 Sep 12;91(19). pii: e00811-17.


Shen X, Bogers WM, Yates NL, Ferrari G, Dey AK, Williams WT, Jaeger FH, Wiehe K, Sawant S, Alam SM, LaBranche CC, Montefiori DC, Martin L, Srivastava I, Heeney J, Barnett SW, Tomaras GD. Crosslinking of a CD4 Mimetic Miniprotein with HIV-1 Env gp140 Alters Kinetics and Specificities of Antibody Responses against HIV-1 Env in Macaques. J Virol. 2017 May 10. 00401-17


García-Arriaza J, Perdiguero B, Heeney JL, Seaman MS, Montefiori DC, Yates NL, Tomaras GD, Ferrari G, Foulds KE, Roederer M, Self SG, Borate B, Gottardo R, Phogat S, Tartaglia J, Barnett SW, Burke B, Cristillo AD, Weiss DE, Lee C, Kibler KV, Jacobs BL, Wagner R, Ding S, Pantaleo G, Esteban M. HIV/AIDS Vaccine Candidates Based on Replication-Competent Recombinant Poxvirus NYVAC-C-KC Expressing Trimeric gp140 and Gag-Derived Virus-Like Particles or Lacking the Viral Molecule B19 That Inhibits Type I Interferon Activate Relevant HIV-1-Specific B and T Cell Immune Functions in Nonhuman Primates. J Virology. 2017 Apr 13;91(9).


Schmidt F, Liegeois F, Greenwood EJ, LeBreton M, Lester J, Deleplancque L, Peeters M, Aghokeng A, Tamoufe U, Diffo JL, Takuo JM, Wolfe ND, Leroy E, Rouet F, Heeney JL. Phyloepidemiological Analysis Reveals that Viral Divergence Led to the Paucity of Simian Immunodeficiency Virus SIVmus/gsn/mon Infections in Wild Populations. J Virology. 2017 Feb 28;91(6).


Rollier CS, Verschoor EJ, Verstrepen BE, Drexhage JA, Paranhos-Baccala G, Liljeström P, Sutter G, Arribillaga L, Lasarte JJ, Bartosch B, Cosset FL, Inchauspe G, Heeney JL. T- and B-cell responses to multivalent prime-boost DNA and viral vectored vaccine combinations against hepatitis C virus in non-human primates. Gene Therapy. 2016 Aug 4. 10.1038                                                                                                                                          

Asbach B, Kliche A, Köstler J, Perdiguero B, Esteban M, Jacobs BL, Montefiori DC, LaBranche CC, Yates NL, Tomaras GD, Ferrari G, Foulds KE, Roederer M, Landucci G, Forthal DN, Seaman MS, Hawkins N, Self SG, Sato A, Gottardo R, Phogat S, Tartaglia J, Barnett SW, Burke B, Cristillo AD, Weiss DE, Francis J, Galmin L, Ding S, Heeney JL, Pantaleo G, Wagner R. Potential to Streamline Heterologous DNA-Prime and NYVAC/Protein-Boost HIV Vaccine Regimens in Rhesus Macaques by Employing Improved Antigens. J Virology. 2016 Mar 28; 90(8):4133-49.

Heeney JL. Ebola:  Hidden reservoirs. Nature. 2015 Nov 26;527(7579):453-5.    
Greenwood EJD, Schmidt F, Kondova I, Niphuis H, Hodara V, Clissold L, McLay K, Guerra B, Redrobe S, Giavedoni LD, Lanford RE, Murthy KK, Rouet F, Heeney JL Simian immunodeficiency virus infection of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) shares features of both pathogenic and non-pathogenic lentiviral infections PLOS Pathogens 2015 Sep 11;11(9):e1005146.  
Daly GM, Leggett RM, Rowe W, Stubbs S, Wilkinson M, Ramirez-Gonzalez RH, Caccamo M, Bernal W, Heeney JL Host Subtraction, Filtering and Assembly Validations for Novel Viral Discovery Using Next Generation Sequencing Data. PLoS One. 2015 Jun 22;10(6):e0129059.
Swamy M, Abeler-Dörner L, Chettle J, Mahlakõiv T, Goubau D, Chakravarty P, Ramsay G, Reis e Sousa C, Staeheli P, Blacklaws B, Heeney JL, and Hayday A. Intestinal intraepithelial lymphocyte activation promotes innate antiviral resistance. Nat Commun. 2015 May 19;6:7090. 
Veldhoen M, Heeney JL. A helminth-mediated viral awakening. Trends Immunol. 2014 Aug 28. pii: S1471-4906(14)00144-6. 

Shortland A, Chettle J, Archer J, Wood K, Bailey D, Goodfellow I, Blacklaws BA, Heeney JL. Pathology caused by persistent murine norovirus infection. J Gen Virol. 2014 Feb;95(Pt 2):413-22.

Greenwood EJ, Schmidt F, Liégeois F, Kondova I, Herbert A, Ngoubangoye B, Rouet F, Heeney JL. Loss of memory CD4+ T-cells in semi-wild mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx) naturally infected with species-specific simian immunodeficiency virus SIVmnd-1. J Gen Virol. 2014 Jan;95(Pt 1):201-12. 

Varela M, Verschoor E, Lai RP, Hughes J, Mooj P, McKinley TJ, Fitzmaurice TJ, Landskron L, Willett BJ, Frost SD, Bogers WM, Heeney JL.Genetic imprint of vaccination on simian/human immunodeficiency virus type 1 transmitted viral genomes in rhesus macaques. PLoS One. 2013 Aug 14;8(8):e70814.

Lai RP, Seaman MS, Tonks P, Wegmann F, Seilly DJ, Frost SD, LaBranche CC, Montefiori DC, Dey AK, Srivastava IK, Sattentau Q, Barnett SW, Heeney JL. Mixed adjuvant formulations reveal a new combination that elicit antibody response comparable to Freund's adjuvants. PLoS One. 2012;7(4)

Dey AK, Burke B, Sun Y, Hartog K, Heeney JL, Montefiori D, Srivastava IK, Barnett SW. Use of a polyanionic carbomer, Carbopol971P, in combination with MF59, improves antibody responses to HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein. Vaccine. 2012 Apr 5;30(17):2749-59.

Varela M, Landskron L, Lai RP, McKinley TJ, Bogers WM, Verschoor EJ, Dubbes R, Barnett SW, Frost SD, Heeney JL.  Molecular evolution analysis of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 envelope in simian/human immunodeficiency virus-infected macaques: implications for challenge dose selection. J Virol. 2011 Oct;85(19):10332-45.

Heeney JL, Dalgleish AG, Weiss RA Origins of HIV and the evolution of resistance to AIDS. Science 2006;313(5786):462-6



Other Professional Activities

Public Involvement/Engagement

BBC Politics show:

Interview is part of the longer BBC Politics show, our section runs from aprox.  15:14 to 18:20


The Guardian about pan-Beta Coronavirus vaccines;

The long game: the race for a vaccine against all coronaviruses


Needle-free injection tech to deliver UK’s COVID-19 vaccine  October 28, 2020 


Bloomberg TV Covid-19 May Require Vaccines for Different Age Groups: Pathologist

September 16th, 2020, 11:06 AM GMT+0100

University of Cambridge Professor of Comparative Pathology Jonathan Heeney discusses what has been learned about how Coronavirus attacks individual patients, the complicated process of creating a vaccine, and the long-term complications seen from Covid-19. He speaks on “Bloomberg Surveillance.” (Source: Bloomberg).

BBC The Covid vaccine that won't need needles!

•26 Aug 2020


Bloomberg Prognosis

U.K. Backs Cambridge Plan for Vaccine Against Many Coronaviruses By Suzi Ring 26 August 2020,  Cambridge scientists received $2.5 million to develop shot DNA-based vaccine aims to fight multiple coronaviruses


BBC  The One Show - 20th July 2020.

4 News. 26 Aug 2020 Where we stand in the global race for a Covid vaccine


SKY News Wednesday 26 August 2020 15:24, UK

Coronavirus: Needle-free vaccine which targets all coronaviruses could start trials in autumn. By Aisha Zahid,  


Funding of £1.9 million will allow the research team to take the vaccine candidate to clinical trials.

ITV News. Wednesday 26 August 2020, 6:16pm Cambridge Covid-19 vaccine nudged closer to trials by £1.9m grant.


Influenzers in Action: COVID-19 Response.




Global National

April 5 2020 8:28pm The international race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine Crystal Goomansingh reports.


University of Cambridge News. 17 Mar 2020 Research  Cambridge research team working towards vaccine against COVID-19.


The Guardian: 27 Mar 2020 06.00 GMT

'It’s a razor’s edge we’re walking': inside the race to develop a coronavirus vaccine

By Samanth Subramanian


BBC News: 17th March 2020. Coronavirus: Cambridge scientists race for a vaccine.


The Varsity: 17th Feb 2020. Cambridge’s work on coronavirus vaccine moving ‘very quickly.


The Naked Scientist, BBC: 17th Feb 2020. Coronavirus: quarantine, spread, and a potential vaccine.


Cambridge Independent 25 September 2019. University of Cambridge’s Prof Jonathan Heeney answers call from Bill Gates to transform flu vaccine By Paul Brackley  

Professor Jonathan Luke Heeney
Takes PhD students
Available for consultancy


Collaborator profiles: 
Departments and institutes: 
Person keywords: 
B cells
single cell transcriptomics
reverse vaccinology
mouse models
mucosal immunity
natural immunity
reporter mice
Innate Immune System
intestinal innate immunity
host resistance
single cell mRNA sequencing
B cell lineage and repertoire development
single cell profiling
viral immune evasion
infection and inflammation
intestinal immune system
innate immunity
Calcivirus RNA viruses