These volunteers are making short videos on TikTok and Instagram to explain their part in the vaccine effort.
Dr Meenal Viz, Dr Nishant Joshi and baby Radhika are the Joshi trio who have been campaigning for healthcare workers throughout the pandemic. Last year, during the first wave of the pandemic, Dr Meenal Viz was the pregnant protester outside Downing Street when Radhika was a foetus. The protest gained worldwide media attention and now Meenal and Nishant hope to use their platform to spread positivity, hope, and help clear any misunderstandings around the vaccine. Changing the world one TikTok at a time!
Nishant works in General Practice and has played a big role in working with local communities to start important dialogue around the vaccines. He has seen the impact of the virus on ethnic minority groups and has been working closely with community leaders to share informed messages around the vaccine. Meenal has been working from home with Radhika, focusing on campaigns to help inform women who are either pregnant, planning to be pregnant, or breastfeeding to make informed choices around the vaccine.
Outside of work, Nishant is a bassist and writes songs about social injustice with his band, The Palpitations (and Baby Radhika is Nishant’s biggest fan). While Meenal has her own podcast, ‘Meenal’s World’, where she interviews trailblazers every week and hopes to educate and empower women across the world.
Dr Federica Cappuccini is a postdoctoral research scientist at the Jenner Institute, University of Oxford. Since the beginning of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine clinical trials in April 2020, Federica has been a part-time member of the COVID-19 team processing and testing blood samples collected from volunteers in the UK. In particular, the team is looking at the magnitude and durability of cellular responses as a read out of vaccine immunogenicity. Federica has recently become a full-time member of the COVID-19 team as one of the senior immunologists in the paediatric study of the ChAdOx1 nCoV-19 vaccine.
Federica started working at the Jenner Institute in 2013 in the Prostate Cancer Vaccine group and has been initially responsible for the preclinical experimentation of candidate prostate cancer vaccines administered as monotherapy or in combination with checkpoint inhibitors. Previously, Federica graduated at Roma Tre University in Rome with a project on rotavirus infectivity and neutralisation, aiming at developing a new therapeutic intervention against human rotavirus infections targeting a capsid viral protein. She then completed my doctoral studies at the Uniklinikum Essen, University of Duisburg-Essen, where she investigated the immune modulation and pathogenesis of radiation induced lung tissue damage in order to identify therapeutic targets for treatment or prevention of radiation related side effects.
As an Italian, Federica enjoys good food, wine and coffee. She loves travelling and cherishes moments spent with friends, be it for a meal out, a board game night, a walk in the park or a squash match. She also enjoys going to the gym and running, and hopefully will complete a marathon and a sprint triathlon in 2021!
Dr Ajay Verma is a Consultant Gastroenterologist and Physician working at Kettering General Hospital (KGH) in Northamptonshire, UK. Ajay treats patients with inflammatory bowel diseases and other chronic Gastroenterological disorders. He is an advocate for COVID vaccines, regularly posting social media content on the safety, efficacy and importance of vaccination for the benefit of patients, and fellow health care professionals.
Ajay has clinical interests in inflammatory bowel diseases, and early colorectal cancer. He is also an active clinical researcher and is the research and development director at KGH and the Gastroenterology Speciality lead for NIHR East Midlands clinical research network. Ajay is also a chief clinical information officer, a role he enjoys as KGH endeavours to be one of the most digitally advanced hospitals in the UK. On a national level, Ajay is the chair of the New Consultants Committee at the Royal College of Physicians and sits on the SWiG (Supporting Woman in Gastroenterology) and Colorectal section committees for the British Society of Gastroenterology. Ajay is active on Twitter, regularly posting #GastroTwearls: educational Gastroenterological content for health care professionals and patients.
Ajay enjoys spending time with family, his wife Vini is an Interventional GI Radiologist, his son Luca is 6, his daughter Bella is 4. He is a sports fanatic – Football, Cricket, Tennis, American Football. He plays badminton to a reasonable standard (his assessment). He also loves reading books – especially when on holiday!
Dr Punam Krishan is a Scottish NHS General Practitioner, Clinical lecturer, writer and media medic with a specialist interest in mental health, women and children’s health and lifestyle medicine.
Punam is involved in the vaccination roll out at her practice and also being from a south asian background, she has been involved in educating her community around vaccine hesitancy as well as in the media.
Punam is a Glasgow girl with an Indian heart, a mum to two young children (one of whom was born in lockdown!). She is fluent in Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu. And also a keen runner and a qualified meditation teacher.
Dr Paul Ian Cross is a subject matter expert in clinical trials at the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) in England. Paul leads on the development of learning materials for doctors, nurses, researchers and scientists involved in the research response to Covid-19 and is also a clinical trials auditor. He has a background in Microbiology and completed his Master’s degree and PhD at Cardiff University. Paul is involved in several science communication projects across healthcare and STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) education. Paul’s passion is writing STEM-inspired books and creating STEM content to introduce children and their families to the wonders of science.
Faith Uwadiae is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Francis Crick Institute in London. Her research is within the field of immunology and focuses on understanding the link between malaria and a type of cancer called Burkitt’s Lymphoma. She started her scientific career by pursuing a BSc in Biochemistry at King’s College London, before undertaking an MRes in Biomedical Research and a PhD in Immunology, both at Imperial College London.
Currently, Faith is also an Early Career Representative for the British Society of Immunology’s Forum, working to raise issues and ideas to create policy change to shape UK immunology. Faith is passionate about improving racial diversity in STEM and does whatever she can through university and public engagement lectures, events, articles and social media.
Outside of work, Faith spends her free time doing science in other ways: homebrewing beer and baking with a blog to document these food adventures. She is also obsessed with podcasts and recently became a lockdown cyclist – and she loves it.
Dr Partha Kar is a Consultant and National Specialty Advisor, Diabetes, NHS UK. Partha is part of the national team that undertook the data analysis around Covid-19, which subsequently contributed to vaccine prioritisation via JCVI, as well as risk tools such as Q-COVID risk tool developed by Oxford. Partha has also helped in developing information portals and language specific videos to help increase uptake of Covid-19 vaccines, by working with colleagues across the UK.
Partha is involved in diabetes care, and championing technology access in diabetes (Libre, CGM in Type 1 Diabetes). He has led work on interactions between HCPs and patients (“Language Matters”), pioneered online self-management programmes for diabetes, as well as being co-creator of TAD (Talking About Diabetes) and Type 1 Diabetes comic (Volume 1, 2 and 3). Partha is an avid user of social media to engage with patients and was recognised as a “Social media Pioneer” by HSJ in 2014. He also writes a monthly blog for the BMJ, has a personal blog (“Sugar and Spice: Wish all things were nice”) and a podcast (“Sweet Talking”). Partha was recently awarded an OBE for “services to Diabetes care”.
A huge fan of movies and an avid reader of comic books, Partha’s favourite food is Biriyani, but generally any good food, with a partiality towards Vietnamese too! He speaks English, Bengali and Hindi. Loves cricket and holidays where you do nothing.
Jeanine du Plessis is a medical scientist working at the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Analytics (VIDA) research unit in South Africa. Currently she is working on multiple Covid-19 related studies including sentinel hospital surveillance, adult and paediatric Covid-19 associated mortality study and the Oxford vaccine trial – ChadOx-1. She has laboratory experience in forensic toxicology, microbiology and molecular biology.
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.
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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.