These volunteers are making short videos on TikTok and Instagram to explain their part in the vaccine effort.
Julio Sempere is a Biochemist and Microbiologist working for the National Centre for Microbiology, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, based in Madrid.
Julio works in the Spanish Pneumococcal Reference Laboratory, in the Vaccine Preventable Bacterial Diseases Unit, evaluating new vaccine serotypes of the pneumococcus and the impact of vaccines in invasive pneumococcal disease. Julio researches bacteria biofilms, approaching new treatments against antibiotic resistant bacteria, and studies the interaction of pathogens with the immune system. His interests are in vaccines, clinical microbiology and immunology.
Julio is a Madrilenian (born and bred in Madrid) and since watching Grey’s Anatomy, he’s wanted to become a scientist. Julio also enjoys cycling and running, and before the pandemic, he used to love going to the gym.
Björn Meyer, originally from Germany, is a virologist working in the Viral Populations and Pathogenesis Unit at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, his research has focused on SARS-CoV-2 infected cells and what happens between cellular and viral proteins. Björn uses these interactions as starting points to target events for antiviral strategies specifically. He is also part of a therapeutic task force that develops assays and drug-screens to test new therapeutics (small molecules, biologics, antibodies, etc.) from academic and industrial partners.
Outside of work, Björn makes the most of living in France — enjoying food and wine with his partner Kerri.
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 Andrea Mazzella, MRCP (UK), is a Research Physician working in the NIHR Guy’s and St Thomas’ Biomedical Research Centre, and one of the investigators of three Phase III clinical trials investigating the Janssen, Novavax and Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines for Covid-19. His role involves discussing the trials with volunteers, assessing their eligibility and conducting follow-up and pharmacovigilance with hundreds of trial participants.
After qualifying from medical school in Italy with an Erasmus exchange programme in Spain, Andrea moved to England to work as a doctor in the NHS. Once he completed Core Medical Training, he studied at London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine for a master’s degree in Epidemiology. It was during this year that the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded; he graduated and decided to join the team of researchers working on COVID-19 vaccine clinical trials.
Andrea grew up on a tiny island in the Mediterranean and loves returning home and sailing. He has a geeky passion for linguistics and is powered by dark chocolate and nonna’s struffoli.
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 Alex Bowmer is a medical anthropologist and a Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, working on understanding the social dynamics of epidemics and the facilitators and barriers to vaccine deployment in epidemic outbreaks. After completing his PhD, he has spent the past two years working on Ebola, Rift Valley Fever, Swine Fever, and now Covid-19.
Outside of his work on Covid-19, he also works in professional sport as a physical therapist and strength & conditioning coach with teams in the USA and UK.
Rômulo is a Biophysicist and PhD student in Immunology and Infection at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. He was studying at the University of Califorina-Davis in the USA before returning to Brazil during the pandemic to help with research on the new coronavirus. His work focuses on understanding the mechanisms that make our bodies develop immunity against Sars-CoV-2 and the reasons why some people develop severe illness while others experience mild symptoms.
Dr Kiran Morjaria is a junior doctor and comedian based in Manchester. He is working on the front line admitting and treating patients with Covid-19. In his spare time he volunteers at a Covid-19 vaccination hub as a vaccinator.
Kiran graduated from Leeds Medical School in 2017, where he was awarded the SPARK scholarship for enterprise, and is currently training to be a GP. He has performed comedy across the national circuit and continues to make medicine accessible and fun online.
Kiran’s big passion outside of medicine is comedy. He also enjoys staying active, he is a keen gym-goer, tennis player and vegetarian foodie.
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.