These volunteers are making short videos on TikTok and Instagram to explain their part in the vaccine effort.
Dr. Anna Blakney is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow in the Shattock laboratory at Imperial College London. Her research focuses on the development of self-amplifying RNA as a vaccine platform, a novel type of RNA that is able to make copies of itself once it enters a cell. During the pandemic she has focused on the vaccine formulation and testing it in preclinical animal models to determine whether it was safe and immunogenic.
Dr Asher Williams is a Trinidad & Tobago National Scholar currently pursuing a P.hD. in Chemical Engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). The goal of her current research is to simplify vaccine manufacturing in low-income countries by creating a cell-free synthetic biology platform for the biosynthesis of conjugate vaccines. For now, she is focused on vaccines against emerging pathogens.
Asher was named a Class of 2020 Changemaker at RPI and is currently a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow at Cornell University. She earned a B.Sc. in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering at New York University in 2015, then worked as a NASA bioengineering research intern.
Asher was awarded an RPI Presidential Graduate Research Fellowship and during her graduate career she mentored several graduate and undergraduate students, presented at research conferences, and published over 10 co-authored papers in peer-reviewed journals, with a patent pending. Additionally, she served as Vice President of the Black Graduate Students Association at RPI, working on initiatives to increase the recruitment and retention of minoritized students in graduate education.
Originally from Trinidad & Tobago, Asher loves cooking and working out.
Sean Elias is working as part of the Covid-19 vaccine trial team both in the lab and as part of the SciComms team at the Jenner Institute, University of Oxford.
Sean is a postdoctoral immunologist and ‘Public Engagement with Research’ (PER) leader based. He has a keen interest in the human immune system with previous work on T cells, B cells and antibodies for various diseases including Malaria, Ebolavirus, Salmonella and now Covid-19. On the SciComms front, Sean has a keen interest in developing educational materials for schools and the general public, in particular through the medium of board games. During the pandemic he has also provided photos, videos, explainers and most recently GIFS to the world’s media on behalf of the Covid-19 vaccine research team.
When not in the lab Sean is a keen triathlete, cricketer & football player, avid board gamer and lover of ALL things Star Wars.
Dr Jamie W R Parker MBBChir MRCGP MA (Cantab) is a General Practitioner (GP) based in Nottingham and working in the NHS, helping deliver the Covid-19 vaccines to his patients.
Jamie has been a Senior GP for 10 years, he trained at Cambridge University, and became a fully qualified GP through the Nottingham Vocational Training scheme, in 2010.
On the first day of lockdown, March 2020, Jamie wrote and performed a cover of Disney’s Frozen hit “Let it Go”, “Stay at Home” on his Twitter account. He did this to try and help publicise the importance of the ‘stay at home’ message and social distancing in preventing the spread of the coronavirus. The song went viral, and before he knew it, he was on local and national TV and radio, including Sky News, The Chris Evans Breakfast Show and BBC1, being dubbed ‘Nottingham’s singing doctor’. Jamie has since become a regular GP sofa guest on the BBC breakfast show, appearing weekly throughout the pandemic, trying to spread important messages in a calm and measured way.
Jamie lives with his family and three children in Nottingham, and loves the outdoors, sport, and music.
Dineo and Matshidiso are demographers working at Wits Vaccines Infectious Disease Analytics (VIDA) Research unit in South Africa. They are screening and testing for Covid-19 in the township of Soweto and informal settlements in Thembelihle as part of a wider child health programme. They are assessing the impact of Covid-19 on community access to healthcare, livelihoods and education. Information that may help ensure distribution of a vaccine is as effective as possible.
Juan Ambrosioni MD, PhD is a specialist for the HIV / AIDS Unit and Infectious Disease Service and Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Barcelona. He is also an infectious disease specialist for the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina and the University of Geneva, Switzerland. Juan is involved in the Infectious Disease Service of Hospital Clinic-IDIBAPS, which runs the SARS-CoV2 vaccine project ‘Development of innovative coformulated mRNA vaccine against SARS-CoV2 (Cova-RNA)’.
Natalia is a microbiologist specialising in molecular genetics of bacteria. She currently works as a visiting researcher at the University of Sao Paolo, at the Vaccine Development Laboratory. She is the Director-President of the Instituto Questão de Ciência (“a question of science”) and an outspoken advocate for scientific thought in public life. She is a columnist for the newspaper “O Globo” and is a regular media commentator on Covid-19 in Brazil.
Wasim A. P. Syed is a Pharmacy undergraduate student at the Ribeirão Preto School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of São Paulo. Currently, he has a Scientific Initiation scholarship from The Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and is studying the human TMPRSS2 protein, involved in the SARS-CoV-2 virus infection process. Wasim is also a science communicator at Vidya Academics and União Pró-Vacina where he carries out projects that fight fake news, especially around Covid-19 and vaccines.
Follow the people working on all aspects of science that will make these coronavirus vaccines safe and effective
Team Halo is an effort to support and celebrate the inspiring collaboration between scientists all over the world to help us end this pandemic with safe and effective vaccines.
The ‘halo’ represents the ring of connected science that circles the globe.
All participation is voluntary. If you’re involved in the vaccine search and would like to be listed on this site, please get in touch.
Team Halo was established in partnership with the The Vaccine Confidence Project at the University of London’s school of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. It is proud to collaborate with the UN Verified Initiative and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Support is provided by Luminate, IKEA Foundation and the Global Challenges Foundation.