Jameel Fund | Round 1

Each year, the Jameel Fund provides grants of up to $65,000 to propel short-term, high-impact project that aim to understand, prevent, diagnose and treat coronaviruses and other infectious diseases.

In 2021, the chosen projects included ground-breaking technology that enables rapid and effective RNA testing outside of laboratories, new methods to track variants, research into severe COVID-19 in children, and customisable respiratory protective equipment, highlighting the breadth of innovation happening at Imperial in the face of a global pandemic.

The projects are divided between Imperial College London and King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, with the aim of encouraging international research collaboration in this field.

The project chosen from King Abdulaziz University were:

  • Mohamed Ahmed Alfaleh (Faculty of Pharmacy): Retooling DPP4 immunoadhesins as decoy receptor to treat and prevent MERS-CoV infection
  • Muhammad Yasir Wali (King Fahd Center for Medical Research): Alteration of nasopharyngeal microbiota with COVID-19 and identification of secondary respiratory infections.
  • Hani Abdullah Alhadrami (College of Applied Medical Sciences): Nano Formulations of natural products-based SARS CoV-2 Mpro inhibitors as effective treatments for COVID-19.
  • Ayat Tariq Zawawi (College of Applied Medical Sciences): The potential use of helminth immunomodulatory products for COVID-19.
  • Thamir Alandijany (College of Applied Medical Sciences): Assessment of COVID-19 vaccine efficiency in inducing neutralizing immunity.
  • Ahdab A. AlSaieedi (College of Applied Medical Sciences): Characterizing the TCR repertoire diversity in COVID19 and MERS patients.
  • Leena Hussein Bajrai (College of Science): Insilico designing and evaluation of potential drugs against SARS-CoV-2.
  • Rowa Y. Alhabbab (College of Applied Medical Sciences): Combining serological testing and RT-PCR test for efficient detection of COVID19.

The projects chosen from Imperial College London were:

  • Dr Connor Myant (Dyson School of Design Engineering): Creating a 3D facial scanning mobile app for mass customisation of respiratory protective equipment (RPE) (e.g. masks and face shields)
  • Professor Paul Freemont and Dr Michael Crone (Department of Infectious Disease): Developing rapid diagnostic screening 
  • Dr Vanessa Sancho-Shimizu (Department of Infectious Disease): Understanding severe illness in children linked to COVID-19 
  • Dr Jesus Rodriguez Manzano (Department of Infectious Disease): DragonFly – a frugal, rapid, and sustainable point-of-care colorimetric solution for multi-pathogen detection
  • Dr Nishel Shah (Department of Metabolism, Digestion and Reproduction): Do pregnancy-related immune changes modify immunity post COVID-19 infection and vaccination?
Photograph of Clara Barbier Serrano singing at Hayy Jameel in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 22 January 2022

Learn: 'You need a whole team with different experiences'

Scientists from Imperial College London and King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah collaborating to tackling COVID-19
Photograph of Clara Barbier Serrano singing at Hayy Jameel in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 22 January 2022

Commitment: 'The entire world turned into a small village. We had one enemy.'

COVID-19 pushed scientists to innovate and commit themselves in a common battle.