TEDxUCSD | 2017 | “Madness and Miracles” | 2017 Speakers
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Ping Yeh

Medicine | TEDxUCSD 2017 Speaker

Ping Yeh is the most recent True Triton recipient – those that go above and beyond to help advance UC San Diego’s mission, on campus, in the community, and around the world.  He serves on the UC San Diego Alumni Board of Directors and its Executive Committee. His early career highlights include developing pioneering technologies and leading teams advancing new technologies for the storage industry. His life took a major turn in 2013 after being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After surviving cancer and the treatment, he was inspired to cofound StemoniX, a company that makes human organ microTissue to accelerate the discovery of new medicines.  He currently serves as StemoniX’s CEO and board member. Ping enjoys service.  He’s cofounded non-profits that have educated AIDS orphans in rural China and currently serves on the leadership committee for the National Marrow Donor Program for cancer patients.  He has enjoyed mentoring at UCSD’s Basement, Univ. of Minnesota’s Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship and the Mayo Clinic.

Neil Senturia

Neil Senturia

Serial Entrepreneur | TEDxUCSD 2017 Speaker

Neil Senturia is the classic serial entrepreneur. He has had three careers (unable to hold a job it seems) from writing sitcoms in Hollywood to real estate development and finally technology– nine companies as CEO or Chairman and another dozen that he has invested in. Currently Neil is CEO of Blackbird Ventures, a small venture fund that is focused on very early stage companies. Neil has taught entrepreneurship at San Diego State (in the MBA program) as well as at the University of California, San Diego (Von Liebig School of Entrepreneurism in the Division of Engineering). Neil is the author of “I’m There For You Baby, the Entrepreneur’s Guide to the Galaxy,” in which he shares the ups and downs of his entrepreneurial life and the lessons-rules-that he’s learned and how they apply to all of our lives. Neil also writes a weekly column for the San Diego Union-Tribune. He is known for his quick wit, humor and irreverence. Neil does not mince words and is a staple on the speaking circuit. He speaks about “rational man behavior” and uses this skill to add value in terms of strategy. He has master-minded the sale of six companies and has created significant wealth for other entrepreneurs

Susie Harborth

Susie Harborth

Entrepreneur in Biotechnology | TEDxUCSD 2017 Speaker

Susie Harborth is Managing Director and Co-Founder of BioLabs San Diego and General Partner of BioInnovation Capital, an early-stage venture firm. From 2010-2014, Susie was CFO at GnuBIO, a sequencing start-up, which was acquired by Bio-Rad Laboratories in 2014. Prior to joining GnuBIO, Susie launched Cequent Pharmaceuticals and Boston Heart Diagnostics (BHDx). Susie is on the Advisory Board at LabCentral, a biotech co-working space in Massachusetts and co-founded Launch Bio, a non-profit organization focused on innovation and inclusive entrepreneurship. She is focused on emerging areas of biotechnology, including orphan and rare disease, genomics, diagnostics, women’s health and personalized/precision medicine. She is a recipient of the Biocom Catalyst Award; nominated for the Athena Pinnacle Award in Life Sciences; and has been named a “Woman to Watch” by the Boston Business Journal.

Eduardo Esquenazi

Life-long Surfer, Scientist | TEDxUCSD 2017 Speaker

Eduardo Esquenazi, PhD, is a life-long surfer, scientist and the founder and CEO of Sirenas. He can often be found in remote marine habitats, seeking unstudied organisms with diverse chemical biology profiles. But whether he’s off the shores of Hawaii or in the boardroom of Sirenas’ San Diego headquarters, Dr. Esquenazi exudes passion for exploring the chemistry of the world’s microbiome and its application to novel human therapeutics. Since 2008, he has published more than twenty peer-reviewed articles on novel approaches in microbial and marine metabolomics and drug discovery. He is the 2010 recipient of The San Diego Fellowship and the 2008 recipient of the National Institutes of Health Training Grant in Marine Biotechnology. Dr. Esquenazi has been featured on Biotech Nation, is a speaker at leading conferences, including a keynote address at The Gordon Research Conference on Marine Natural Products in 2016 and a Panel Speaker, alongside Fabien Cousteau, at the South by Southwest Conference in 2017.


Sarah Palmer

Engagement Manager at NGO | TEDxUCSD 2017 Speaker

Sarah Palmer was born and raised in Dallas, Texas and graduated from the University of San Diego with a degree in International Relations. She serves as the Grassroots Engagement Manager at Liberty in North Korea (LiNK), a nonprofit organization with offices in Long Beach, Seoul, and Southeast Asia. She equips LiNK’s grassroots movement with guidance and resources to help them fundraise for refugee rescues and change the narrative on North Korea in their communities.


Theresa Larson

Physical Therapist, Former Marine Corps Engineer Officer | TEDxUCSD 2017 Speaker

Dr. Theresa Larson received her doctorate in physical therapy from the University of Saint Augustine in San Diego California. She is a former Marine Corps Engineer Officer and Combat Veteran. Theresa played professional softball in Italy as well as semi-professional softball in the United States. Theresa founded Movement Rx Integrated Health with her husband in 2013 so they could break free from the constraints of the traditional medical practice and authentically treat individuals, large and small companies, and tactical organizations with the time, care, and movement education they need to stay healthy forever. Aside from her practice and speaking, Dr. Larson is active with and a huge advocate of Team Red White and Blue, a veteran non-profit, Operation 22 Military Sexual Trauma, National Eating Disorder Association, CrossRoads Adaptive Athlete Alliance, Resiliency Project, and Challenged Athletes Foundation. Theresa’s mission is to provide programs and education on mindset and movement self care to the individual, the adaptive athlete, large and small companies, and tactical organizations so they can stay ahead of their health and continue to do what they love.  

Niema Moshiri

Ph.D. in Bioinformatics and Coursera Content Creator | TEDxUCSD 2017 Speaker

Alexander Niema Moshiri is currently a Ph.D. student in the Bioinformatics and Systems Biology program at the University of California, San Diego. He works on computational biology, with a research focus on phylogenetics and phylogenomics. He is co-advised by Dr. Siavash Mirarab and Dr. Pavel Pevzner. Aside from research, Niema places a heavy emphasis on teaching, namely on the development of online educational content, primarily Massive Adaptive Interactive Texts (MAITs). For the past few years, he has worked with Dr. Pavel Pevzner and Dr. Phillip Compeau in the development of the Bioinformatics Specialization Track on Coursera, and has separately co-authored a free online MAIT on Data Structures that is being used at UCSD and USD.


Seth Lerer

Writer and National Book Critics Circle Award Winner | TEDxUCSD 2017 Speaker

Seth Lerer was born in Brooklyn, New York and was educated at Wesleyan University, Oxford, and the University of Chicago. Seth taught at Princeton and Stanford, before coming to UCSD as Dean of Arts and Humanities in 2009. Seth served as Dean through 2014, and he is now full time in the Literature Department. Seth has published 9 books and scores of scholarly articles and reviews. His book on Children’s Literature (University of Chicago Press, 2008) won the National Book Critics Circle Award. His memoir, Prospero’s Son, came out in 2013, and his most recent book, Tradition: A Feeling for the Literary Past, appeared in 2016. Seth is finishing a book on Shakespeare’s last plays now, and teaching a range of courses, running from Revelle Humanities through Shakespeare and creative writing.

Suman Kanuganti

Entrepreneur | TEDxUCSD 2017 Speaker

Suman Kanuganti is Co-Founder & CEO of Aira.IO, an emerging startup company based in San Diego, CA that is focused on developing leading technology and services that provide blind and low-vision people greater mobility, independence and efficiency. In his career, Suman has leveraged his expertise and leadership in technology and business for more than 10 years, which, in addition to Aira, have included positions at Intuit, Caterpillar, and Qualcomm. Passionate about startups, problem solving, and creating innovative products that have a social and economic impact, Kanuganti co-founded Aira in 2014, where as CEO he is responsible for developing and spearheading the execution of the company´s high growth business plan, and identifying key strategies to leverage and rapidly expand Aira´s technology base. He holds 5 patents as inventor or co-inventor in interactive computer devices.


Hilda Mwangi

Business Development Professional | TEDxUCSD 2017 Speaker

Hilda Mwangi is a Business Development professional, currently based in Los Angeles, CA. Hilda comes to us with a wealth of legal, policy, strategic, operational, and business development experience. Previously, Hilda worked in the Maryland General Assembly as a Legislative Aide for six years and has spent time working in the Political Department at the US Embassy, London, and in the General Legal Division of the United Nations in New York. In her present role as a Trade and Investment Officer for the UK Department for International Trade, Hilda spearheads the UK’s life sciences activities in San Diego and Arizona, and overseas a large pipeline of companies seeking to expand their brand into the UK and similarly, UK companies interested in entering the southwestern US market. She is on the board of Be A Rose, Inc, a non-profit geared towards increasing education about feminine hygiene and access to feminine hygiene products amongst underrepresented and under resourced communities. She is also a frequent presence at the Los Angeles Mission for the Homeless, where she volunteers twice a month, or as often as her schedule allows when she’s not on the road. 


Jason Callahan

Information Technology Leader | TEDxUCSD 2017 Speaker

Jason Callahan has been an Information Technology leader with experience in a diverse set of industries such as defense, biotech, high-tech and finance, spanning his career of over 25 years.  He has a long held, strong zeal for technology and a profound dedication to educating on how it can be used to transform business operations at all levels.  Jason is currently responsible for Global Information Security, Networking, Data Centers and Collaboration as a Director at Illumina Inc., a publicly traded San Diego based corporation known as the “smartest company in the world!” Jason holds an MBA from the Foster Business School at the University of Washington, in addition to his BS in Information Technology.  Since 2001, he has maintained the utmost currency within his field, holding the coveted Certified Information Security Professional (CISP) designation.  In his personal life, Jason is an avid cyclist, outdoors enthusiast, car/racing fanatic, and an all-around jubilant husband and father of two extraordinary kids.

Laura Luxemburg

Founder of Grassroot Organization | TEDxUCSD 2017 Speaker

Laura Luxemburg has been described as unconventional, determined, a mover and shaker with a bit of dreamer thrown in.  She is the founder of a grassroots 501(c)(3) charitable organization, Ssubi is Hope. Laura traveled to a small clinic in Uganda with no thought of ever founding a non-profit. She wanted to show her children you didn’t have to be a rock star or a movie star to make a difference in lives of others.  So on that first trip after witnessing a child die of asthma from the lack of proper medical equipment.  She took action and purchased the clinics first supplies and equipment. From that need, Laura has become a “dumpster diver”. Greening Southern CA by diverting unused and unwanted medical supplies and equipment to the underserved locally and globally.


 TEDxUCSD 2017 Performer

Ascension was established in 1999 as a competitive dance team to represent UC San Diego at various dance competitions across Southern California.

The Intermission

 TEDxUCSD 2017 Performer

The Intermission Orchestra is a community of fans of video games, films, and anime, who enjoys playing the music from these mediums. Our goal is to spread our love for this genre of music.