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Featured Guides

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


Wasim Syed

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.


Professor Shiv Pillai

Shiv is Professor of Medicine and Health Sciences & Technology at Harvard Medical School where he’s Director of the immunology postgraduate programmes, and a Group leader at the Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard, where his lab is located. He is a world leader in the study of fundamental B-cell development. Currently his lab is studying the immune response to Covid-19, where they have identified a potential way in which the disease’s cytokine storm may inhibit development of a strong antibody response by the immune system.


Dr Partha Kar

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.


Shamaila Anwar

Dr Shamaila Anwar is a Science Communicator and Team Halo Guide. She has a PhD in epidemiology and a background in health research and is interested in understanding health inequalities and improving health and science literacy through community engagement.

Her work during the COVID pandemic has focused on understanding societal views about vaccines, the impact of misinformation and disinformation and how to effectively communicate health messaging to underserved communities.


Sean Elias

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 Bnar Talabani

Dr Bnar Talabani is a scientist and Wellcome Trust Fellow (Immunology) and a Clinical Academic Trainee (Nephrology & Transplant Medicine). She is currently doing a PhD in immunology looking at the role of inflammation in organ injury and scarring. 

Bnar helped to set up Muslim Doctors Cymru, a grassroots network of over 60 doctors across Wales, who provide information about Covid-19 and the vaccines in a range of languages, including Urdu, Pashtu, Punjabi, Bangla, Kurdish, Arabic, and Somali. The network also works with local authorities and mosques to build trust with local communities. 

Bnar speaks Kurdish & English. She was born in Northern Iraq and moved to the UK as a refugee, aged 10. She now lives in Wales with her husband and 3 year old daughter. She loves exploring the outdoors, cooking and spending time with family. 


Dr Jonathan Laxton

Dr Jonathan Laxton is an Assistant Professor of Medicine working in Winnipeg, Canada, under the University of Manitoba. Jonathan practices both inpatient medicine where he teaches residents and medical students, as well as outpatient medicine with a focus on Immigrant and Refugee Health. He also has authored educational resources for Medical Students and Residents across Canada.

Dr Jonathan has been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020.  He has also helped in developing a virtual clinic to manage COVID-19 patients at home with the assistance of community paramedics and has been involved in research around post-acute sequelae of COVID-19 (PASC or Long Covid). 

Jonathan has a background in exercise and health physiology and was a personal trainer before getting into medicine. Volleyball is a particular passion and he played varsity throughout high school and college. He is passionate about everything Star Wars and also fills his free time with gardening and CrossFit. He is the father to two feline fur babies Squishy and Sterling.


Dr Gustavo Cabral

Gustavo leads the team that is developing a Brazilian vaccine for Covid-19 at the University of Sao Paulo. His work also focuses on vaccines for the Chikungunya and Zika viruses. His research centres on the use of “virus-like particles”, which was the focus of his postdoctoral studies at the universities of Oxford in the UK and Bern in Switzerland.



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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 as part of the United Nations Verified Initiative in partnership with The Vaccine Confidence Project at the University of London’s School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. It is proud to collaborate with the Vaccine Alliance and GAVI. Support is provided by Luminate and IKEA Foundation.