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Follow these scientists working to get us safe and effective Covid vaccines. Ask them anything.

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These volunteers are making short videos on TikTok and Instagram to explain their part in the vaccine effort.


André Báfica

André Báfica is coordinating Rede IMUNOVIDa, a network researching new strategies for the development of a Covid-19 vaccine.

André is an Associate Professor of Immunology at Federal University of Santa Catarina and Director for the South Region of the Brazilian Society for Immunology, where he carries out several innovative projects and runs a research group focused on understanding the mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of diseases, such as tuberculosis.

André has a PhD in Human Pathology from Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (CPqGM) and a post-doctorate in Immunology from the National Institutes of Health, USA. 


Dr Ahmad Abou Tayoun

Ahmad is the Director of the Genomics Center at Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital and an Associate Professor of Genetics at Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences in the United Arab Emirates. Ahmad is a leading figure in driving efforts to characterize the epidemiological and genomic characteristics of SARS-CoV-2, identify host genetics factors and RNA expression profiles modulating COVID-19 disease severity in the UAE. 


Dr Ajay M Verma

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!


Gabriel Carrasco

Gabriel is Co-Director of the Health Innovation Lab at the Institute of Tropical Medicine “Alexander von Humboldt”, Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Peru and a PhD candidate in Public Health at the University of California, San Diego. Gabriel’s research focuses on the epidemiology of infectious diseases and the intersection with environmental determinants. Currently he is leading two data management teams of random controlled trials (RCTs) on Covid-19 treatments and vaccines in Peru.


Dr Natalia Pasternak

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.


Jeanine du Plessis

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.


Dr Paul F. McKay

Dr Paul F. McKay is a Senior Fellow at Imperial College in London who designed, made and tested Imperial’s self-amplifying RNA Covid-19 vaccine. Paul has worked in the vaccine development field for almost 30 years, completing his PhD at Imperial College and postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School. His focus is studying the immune response to vaccine candidates, aiming to enhance or tailor the immunity to increase vaccine efficacy and creating new vaccines to various infectious diseases.


Federica Cappuccini

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! 



Follow the people working on all aspects of science that will make these coronavirus vaccines safe and effective


Prof Katie Ewer


Debasis Nayak


Ritudhwaj Tiwari


Chinthaparthi Prabhakar Reddy


Ed Belongia MD


Dr Vedantha Srinivas J


Melvin Sanicas


Samantha Vanderslott


Dr. George Kassianos CBE


Ragon Institute


Elisa Ramos Sevillano


Arthur Caplan


Beate Kampmann


Vipin M. Vashishtha


You can help too

Thousands of volunteers around the world are signing up to help trial these vaccines to make sure they’re safe and effective.

Find a trial near you


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.