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Potentially life-changing research is going unfunded.
Around 40,000 researchers are denied federal funding every year. Could one of those studies have led to a cure that could save you or a loved one?

Our Mission

Research Lead's mission is to advance meaningful, high quality, and socially-driven medical research. More quality research funded will lead to improved health, effective treatments, and reduction of disease and illness.


You should know where your money is going when you support medical research. With us, you can learn about the research you are supporting. Because your money goes towards a grant based on reaching milestones, you can have confidence that your contribution will be used for the research you sponsored. You will also have the opportunity to receive regular updates as the study progresses. 


Why do the government, companies, and large organizations get to choose the research that should be funded, but we can't? Research sponsorship shouldn't be limited to millionaires and pharmaceutical companies. Research Lead empowers the average person to make a difference and fund meaningful medical research that matters to them. Meanwhile, researchers are empowered to conduct the research they believe will save lives and make us healthier.


We aim to connect you with researchers and learn their stories and motivations. By connecting researchers and sponsors, we aim to increase awareness of research and improve how research gets communicated. Together, we can create a community dedicated to research that will make a difference for all of us.

Our values

HOW it works

Researchers submit their studies to Research Lead to be reviewed by our experts. We

review the studies to ensure that they meet Research Lead standards:

  • Only qualified researchers. The researcher must have credentials and be affiliated with a reputable non-profit institution.

  • Only well-designed, socially-driven medical research. Research must be not for profit without conflicts of interest. Research is supported by current scientific understanding and aimed at improving health in humans. 

      We do NOT choose which topics of medical research are worthwhile. That is left up to 

                  you, our sponsors.

Once a study is approved to be on the platform, the Research Lead supports the researcher and their team in preparing their profile. This includes helping convey clarity and understanding, selecting representative images and videos, and drafting of budget and grant.

As soon as a study reaches its funding goal, sponsorship is closed. We will let you know when your study has been fully funded! Research Lead then works with the researchers, their institution, and lawyers to finalize the grant for funding the study. 

Once the grant is finalized, the research will begin receiving grant payments as the study reaches milestones outlined in the profile (timeline section). You have the option to receive email updates, so you can be alerted as your sponsored research progresses! Once the study is complete, researchers will share their findings with you through the platform.

Where your money goes

Our social entrepreneurship model enables us to optimize the funding of quality medical research. We market the studies to help them reach a funded state faster, review research study candidates, and support the researchers in writing and designing their profiles. With our grant process, we make sure your contribution goes to the research you support. 


For example, when you give $10 to a study on the platform, $9.20 goes towards the grant on behalf of the research. Of our platform costs, 40 cents goes to marketing and another 40 cents goes to Research Lead to cover costs such as website operations, screening, grant disbursement, and researcher support. An additional, 59 cents goes to an outside payment processing system to secure payment handling for a total contribution of $10.59. 

By expanding beyond what's possible in the non-profit space, we're able to make it easier and more likely that meaningful research will be funded and that we can make a difference towards improving health and ridding disease. 

Research Lead is MORE EFFECTIVE in supporting research than common large non-profits organizations. With Research Lead, 92% of your contribution goes to the research grant you chose to support! As an example, we compared your same contribution to a very large, well-established non-profit organization and our platform:




More than 5x the amount of your contribution is going to the research in the cause that matters to you compared to many other large non-profit organizations! That's 5x the impact you would normally have but we take half the administrative costs.

  Large Non-Profit Organization

          Fundraising & management 19.4%  


                                 Community service     7.4%

     Professional education and training     22.5%

                      Public health & education     33.4%

                                        Research     17.3%

Research Lead


Platform fee total  8%


Research   92%

Our story

While managing Cardiac Electrophysiology clinical research at the University of California San Diego, Co-Founder and CEO Dr. Jessica Hunter experienced first-hand the effects of the lack of funding in medical research. However, her frustration peaked later while studying at medical school when her grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.

"I felt so hopeless. Felt so powerless. And I know there's millions feeling that way. Dementia affects millions of people directly, but also affects all of their loved ones.

There's so many things we haven't cured and aren't treating effectively. I remember thinking - what can I do?


What I realized when thinking back to my time in research was how much research goes unfunded. How many researchers are denied funding for potentially-life saving research. How many researchers out there might even already have cures or treatments for dementia or a cure for so many other conditions. How can I help them bring these discoveries into the world?"

When she saw how crowdfunding platforms were being used for so many things from medical bills to education expenses, she had that moment of epiphany. Why can't we use crowdfunding for research? Once she had that idea, it just stuck. She finally brought up the idea to her sister Jenny who worked as a senior technical product manager in the software industry. With their skills combined, they realized that they could make this work, and they haven't stopped since.

Dr. Jessica Hunter - Co-Founder, Chief Executive Officer

Jessica graduated with a Bachelor of Health Science from the University of Florida. She managed clinical research for 7 years at the Veterans Health Administration and the University of California San Diego. She obtained a certificate in Clinical Research from University of California San Diego and is a SOCRA Certified Clinical Research Professional. In addition, she co-authored several publications. She graduated with her MD and Masters in Public Health from the University of Miami, and she is continuing her passion for medicine and research with a residency in Neurology at New York University (NYU).

Jenny Hunter - Co-Founder, Chief Technical Officer

Jenny graduated with highest honors from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a Bachelor in Computer Engineering. She received a patent and was published for her work in rehabilitative medical technology. Jenny has several years experience in the software industry and most recently worked as a senior technical product manager, where she managed the strategy for several product areas and translated the needs of customers into technical requirements for a major cloud computing provider.

Our goal is to raise $1 million for medical research.
Are you with us?

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