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Department of Veterinary Medicine

Cambridge Veterinary School

Studying at Cambridge


Arden Dierker Viik

Arden Dierker Viik

“A Vaccine to Induce Protective Antibodies Against HIV-1”

Supervisor: Professor Jonathan Heeney


2014-Present: M. Phil in Veterinary Science, Laboratory of Viral Zoonotics, University of Cambridge, UK

2009-2014: B.Sc. (Hons., 1st Class) Bio-Organic Chemistry and Interdisciplinary Life Sciences, McGill University, Canada

Subject groups/Research projects

Infection and Immunity:

Research Interests

My research focuses on developing an HIV vaccine.

On rare occasions, broadly neutralising monoclonal antibodies (bnAbs) have been found in individuals with HIV-1. These bnAbs are potent and prevent the progression of HIV to AIDS. They target glycoproteins on the HIV envelope, gp120 and gp41 that are necessary for fusion. The current vaccination strategy attempts to initiate the induction of such bnAbs by vaccinating with portions of gp120 and gp41, in hopes of driving antibody (Ab) production against these regions.

There are currently HIV vaccine trials being conducted with Professor Heeney at Cambridge in concert with the UK HIV Vaccine Consortium (UKHVC). The goal is to determine the most successful combination of HIV protein, DNA and other factors such as viral vectors, adjuvants and dose to elicit potent, broad and long lasting anti-HIV Abs.

My proposed research is to collect samples from the UKHVC trials and characterise Abs created in response to the vaccines. The most successful UKHVC vaccine combination will be used in human trials.


  • Vaccines
  • Zoonoses
  • Immunity
  • HIV