SPEAKERS AND PRESENTERS
Ed Boyden, PhD
Ed Boyden is Y. Eva Tan Professor in Neurotechnology at MIT, associate professor of Biological Engineering and Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT's Media Lab and McGovern Institute for Brain Research, and was recently selected to be an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (2018). He leads the Synthetic Neurobiology Group, which develops tools for analyzing and repairing complex biological systems such as the brain, and applies them systematically to reveal ground truth principles of biological function as well as to repair these systems. These technologies include expansion microscopy, which enables complex biological systems to be imaged with nanoscale precision; optogenetic tools, which enable the activation and silencing of neural activity with light; robotic methods for single-cell analysis and directed evolution that are yielding new synthetic biology reagents for dynamic imaging of physiological signals; and, novel methods of focal noninvasive human brain stimulation. He co-directs the MIT Center for Neurobiological Engineering, which aims to develop new tools to accelerate neuroscience progress.
Amongst other recognitions, he has received the Canada Gairdner International Award (2018), the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences (2016), the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award (2015), the Carnegie Prize in Mind and Brain Sciences (2015), the Jacob Heskel Gabbay Award (2013), the Grete Lundbeck Brain Prize (2013), the NIH Director's Pioneer Award (2013), the NIH Director's Transformative Research Award (three times, 2012, 2013, and 2017), and the Perl/UNC Neuroscience Prize (2011). He was also named to the World Economic Forum Young Scientist list (2013) and the Technology Review World’s "Top 35 Innovators under Age 35" list (2006), and is an elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2017), the National Academy of Inventors (2017), and the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (2018).
Luis de Lecea, PhD
Dr. de Lecea received his Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Barcelona and conducted postdoctoral research at the Scripps Research Institute in the lab of Dr. Greg Sutcliffe. During his postdoc, Dr. de Lecea discovered the cortical neuromodulator cortistatin and the hypothalamic hypocretin system. During the past decade he has held faculty positions at the Scripps Research Institute and Stanford University, where he has characterized the role of hypocretins in various mammalian behaviors. Recently, his lab has applied optogenetic techniques to directly modulate neurons that produce hypocretins and other neuromodulators to elucidate their role in behaviors, especially sleep/wake maintenance, stress, and reward.
Juan Enriquez, MBA, BA
Mr. Juan Enriquez is Managing Director at Excel Venture Management. He is a business leader, author, and academic recognized as one of the world’s leading authorities on the economic and political impacts of life sciences.
He is an active investor in early-stage private companies in the biotechnology and information sciences sectors. Juan has published extensively on future trends, won a McKinsey Prize, and is author and co-author of various bestsellers including As the Future Catches You: How Genomics & Other Forces are Changing Your Life, Work, Health & Wealth (Random House, 2001), an analysis of the impact of genomics on business and society, and his latest book Evolving Ourselves: Redesigning the Future of Humanity- One Gene at a Time (Penguin, 2015). He was the founding director of Harvard Business School’s Life Sciences Project and then founded Biotechonomy.
Juan serves on a number of for profit and non-profit boards including The Harvard Medical School Genetics Advisory Council, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the President’s Council National Academy of Sciences, The Boston Science Museum, WGBH, and Questbridge. He earned a BA and MBA from Harvard, with Honors.
Amit Etkin, MD, PhD
Amit Etkin, MD, PhD is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford, a member of the Stanford Neurosciences Institute, and an Investigator at the Palo Alto VA. He has received multiple awards, most notably the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award in 2017, for groundbreaking work in clinical psychiatry and neuroscience. Dr. Etkin is trained as both as a neuroscientist and psychiatrist, having received his MD/PhD under the mentorship of a Nobel Laureate. The overarching aim of the Etkin lab is to understand the neural basis of emotional disorders and their treatment, and to leverage this knowledge to better understand how the brain works and to develop novel treatment interventions. In support of this goal, Dr. Etkin also collaborates with neuroscientists, engineers, psychologists, physicians and others to establish a new intellectual, scientific and clinical paradigm for understanding and manipulating human brain circuits in healthy individuals and for treating psychiatric diseases including depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. Building on his Pioneer Award-recognized research, he is presently developing a true “Brain Vitals” approach for assessing the brains of patients over time, engineering new and more powerful methods for non-invasive brain stimulation, and establishing predictive neuro-signals for understanding who responds to what treatment in psychiatry. Dr. Etkin collaborates with investigators across multiple continents on these efforts and is committed to scaling his neuroscience insights from the lab into clinics worldwide. He also engages heavily within an academic-industry ecosystem aimed at transforming the diagnosis and treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Reid Hoffman, MPhil
An accomplished entrepreneur, executive, and investor, Reid Hoffman has played an integral role in building many of today’s leading consumer technology businesses.
In 2003 Hoffman co-founded LinkedIn, the world’s largest professional networking service. LinkedIn is thriving with more than 500 million members around the world. In 2009 Hoffman joined Greylock Partners. He focuses on building products that can reach hundreds of millions of participants and businesses that have network effects.
He currently serves on the boards of Airbnb, Apollo Fusion, Aurora, Convoy, Blockstream and a few early stage companies still in stealth. In addition, he serves on a number of not-for-profit boards, including Kiva, Mozilla Corporation, Endeavor, and CZI Biohub. Prior to joining Greylock, he angel invested in many influential internet companies, including Facebook, Flickr, Last.fm, and Zynga. Hoffman is the host of Masters of Scale, an original podcast series and the first American media program to commit to a 50-50 gender balance for featured guests. He is also the co-author of two New York Times best-selling books: The Start-Up of You and The Alliance. His next book is focused on “blitzscaling”, based on his Stanford course of the same name.
Hoffman earned a master’s degree in philosophy from Oxford University, where he was a Marshall Scholar, and a bachelor’s degree with distinction in symbolic systems from Stanford University.
Keith Humphreys, PhD
Keith Humphreys is a Professor and the Section Director for Mental Health Policy in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He is also a Senior Research Career Scientist at the VA Health Services Research Center in Palo Alto and an Honorary Professor of Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College, London. His research addresses the prevention and treatment of addictive disorders, the formation of public policy and the extent to which subjects in medical research differ from patients seen in everyday clinical practice.
For his work in the multinational humanitarian effort to rebuild the psychiatric care system of Iraq and in the national redesign of the VA health system's mental health services for Iraq war veterans, he won the 2009 American Psychological Association Award for Distinguished Contribution to the Public Interest. He and the authors of "Drug Policy and the Public Good" won the 2010 British Medical Association's Award for Public Health Book of the Year. Dr. Humphreys has been extensively involved in the formation of public policy, having served as a member of the White House Commission on Drug Free Communities, the VA National Mental Health Task Force, and the National Advisory Council of the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. During the Obama Administration, he spent a sabbatical year as Senior Policy Advisor at the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. He has also testified on numerous occasions in Parliament and advises multiple government agencies in the U.K.
Mary Lou Jepsen, PhD
Before founding Openwater, Dr. Jepsen was an engineering executive at Facebook, Oculus, Google and Intel. She has founded four startups, including One Laptop per Child where she was CTO, chief architect and delivered to mass production the $100 laptop. She has been a professor at both MITs: MIT in Cambridge, Mass., and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia. She is an inventor of over 200 published or issued patents, and has shipped billions of dollars worth of consumer electronics at the edge of what physics allows. She has been recognized with many awards including TIME magazine’s “Time 100” as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, and as a CNN top 10 thinker.
Tom Kalil, JD
Tom served in the White House for two Presidents (Obama and Clinton), helping to design and launch national science and technology initiatives in areas such as nanotechnology, the BRAIN initiative, data science, materials by design, robotics, commercial space, high-speed networks, access to capital for startups, high-skill immigration, STEM education, learning technology, startup ecosystems, and the federal use of incentive prizes.
From 2001 to 2008, Kalil was Special Assistant to the Chancellor for Science and Technology at UC Berkeley. He launched a program called Big Ideas@Berkeley, which provide grants to student-led teams committed to solving important problems at home and abroad. In 2007 and 2008, Kalil was the Chair of the Global Health Working Group for the Clinton Global Initiative, where he developed new public and private sector initiatives in areas such as maternal and child health, under-nutrition, and vaccines. Prior to joining the Clinton White House, Tom was a trade specialist at the Washington offices of Dewey Ballantine, where he represented the Semiconductor Industry Association on U.S.-Japan trade issues and technology policy. He also served as the principal staffer to Gordon Moore in his capacity as Chair of the SIA Technology Committee.
Tom received a B.A. in political science and international economics from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and completed graduate work at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Michael McCullough, MD
Michael McCullough, M.D., M.Sc. is the Founder of BrainMind. He is an EIR at Greylock Partners, impact investor and Partner at Capricorn Healthcare, social entrepreneur, and emergency room professor at UCSF. Michael’s personal interest in the brain extends from a childhood brain hemorrhage which resulted in hydrocephalus and a severe stutter, partially corrected by brain surgery at age 10 and requiring Michael to retrain himself to speak through high school and early college at Stanford. Accomplishing fluent speech also required extensive biofeedback and meditation practice. After returning from Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar, Michael co-founded QuestBridge during free hours in medical school at UCSF and his surgical residency at Stanford. QuestBridge, a national non-profit, now places more talented low-income students into top colleges like Stanford, Yale, Caltech, and MIT than all other non-profits combined. Michael has since founded or co-founded 12 successful companies and non-profits.
Michael is a founder of RegenMed Systems, a co-founding investor of HeartFlow, and on the founding board of 2U -- all top performing impact investments. Michael also served/serves on the boards of the Metabiota, the Global Leadership Incubator, QuestBridge, and the Dalai Lama Foundation among others, and serves as an on-call ER physician for the Dalai Lama during his visits to the West Coast.
Vinod Menon, PhD
Prof. Menon is the Rachel L. and Walter F. Nichols, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and, Professor, by courtesy, of Neurology at Stanford University. He serves as director of Stanford Cognitive and Systems Neuroscience Laboratory, which is dedicated to the investigation of human brain function and dysfunction using a multidisciplinary approach that emphasizes a tight integration of cognitive, behavioral, neuroscience and computational methodologies. Students, staff and scientists in his lab come from multiple disciplines, including psychology, neuroscience, biostatistics, biomedical engineering, psychiatry, and neurology to conduct research in a highly interdisciplinary setting. Over the past two decades, Dr. Menon’s research has led to major breakthroughs in our understanding of the architecture, function, and development of these large-scale distributed human brain networks. Leveraging expertise in neuroscience, statistics, engineering, computer science, psychology, psychiatry, and neurology, Dr. Menon and his team were among the first to discover that the human brain is organized into specialized and interacting networks of brain regions, which has resulted in a paradigm shift in how we investigate human brain function and cognition.
Dr. Menon’s lab is now recognized as one of the world’s leading groups in human cognitive and clinical systems neuroscience. His research has been widely reported in the mainstream press, and he has been named an ISI Highly Cited Researcher in Neuroscience (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017; ISI, Thompson Reuters).
Karen Parker, PhD
zDr. Parker is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University where she directs the Social Neurosciences Research Program. Dr. Parker's research expertise is the biology of social functioning, with a particular interest in oxytocin and vasopressin signaling pathways. Her preclinical research program focuses on developing novel monkey models of social impairments; her clinical research program encompasses biomarker discovery and therapeutic testing in patients with autism and other brain disorders.
Dr. Parker received her undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Michigan and completed postdoctoral training at Stanford University. Dr. Parker joined the Stanford faculty in 2007. She is an Affiliate Scientist at the California National Primate Research Center, a Member of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, and a Kavli Fellow of the US National Academy of Sciences. Dr. Parker’s research program has been supported by multiple funding agencies including the NIH, the Simons Foundation, and the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation. Dr. Parker serves on the Editorial Board of Psychoneuroendocrinology, and on various national (e.g., NIH and NSF) and international (e.g., Medical Research Council) grant review committees and scientific panels.
Laura Roberts, MD, MA
Laura Roberts, M.D., serves as Chairman and the Katharine Dexter McCormick and Stanley McCormick Memorial Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford University School of Medicine. She is an internationally recognized scholar in bioethics, psychiatry, medicine, and medical education. Over two decades, Dr. Roberts has received scientific, peer-reviewed funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Department of Energy, and private foundations to perform empirical studies of modern ethical issues in research, clinical care, and health policy, with a particular focus on vulnerable and special populations. Her work has led to advances in the understanding of ethical aspects of physical and mental illness research, societal implications for genetic innovation, the role of stigma in health disparities, the impact of medical student and physician health issues, and optimal approaches to fostering professionalism in medicine. Dr. Roberts has written hundreds of peer-reviewed articles and other scholarly works, and she has written or edited several books in the areas of professionalism and ethics in medicine, professional development for physicians, and clinical psychiatry. Dr. Roberts serves in a number of leadership roles at Stanford University and in the Stanford Medicine enterprise. Dr. Roberts has served as the Editor-in-Chief, Books for the American Psychiatric Association since 2016. Dr. Roberts has been the Editor-in-Chief for the journal Academic Psychiatry since 2002 and serves as an editorial board member and peer reviewer for many scientific and education journals.
Manish Saggar, PhD
Manish Saggar is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He graduated from Indian Institute of Information Technology (Allahabad) and then went to the University of Texas at Austin for his Ph.D., where he examined how intensive meditation training affects brain dynamics in the lab of Dr. Risto Miikkulainen. Followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in Psychiatry at Stanford University under the guidance of Dr. Allan L. Reiss, Manish established his independent computational neuropsychiatry lab (Brain Dynamics Lab) at Stanford in 2017. Dr. Saggar's lab is dedicated to developing computational methods to capture brain’s overall dynamical organization in health and disease. Dr. Saggar has received the NIH Career Development Award (K99/R00) and the NARSAD Young Investigator Award from the Brain & Behavior Foundation.
The overarching goal of his research is to understand how our brain dynamically adapts to perform different tasks one after another. He believes that understanding brain’s dynamical organization can be crucial for augmenting human performance (e.g., during creative thinking) as well as for developing and tracking treatments for mental illnesses. His lab is dedicated to developing computational methods that can generate useful mechanistic insights about the “transitions” (or lack thereof) in underlying neural processes during ongoing cognition. To achieve these goals, he employs algorithms from a wide range of fields, including Applied Mathematics, Econometrics, Machine Learning, Biophysics and Network Science.
Nirao Shah, MD, PhD
Dr. Nirao Shah is a Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and of Neurobiology at Stanford University. After completing his medical training, Nirao was a graduate student at Caltech, where he identified mechanisms thatt control differentiation of stem cells that give rise to the peripheral nervous system. For his post-graduate fellowship at Columbia University, Nirao developed genetic approaches to identify neural pathways that regulate social behaviors. In his own laboratory, his research has elaborated on such approaches to identify genes and neurons that control different aspects of social interactions. Nirao's findings have provided insights into how our brains enable social interactions in health, and they are relevant to understanding mechanisms underlying behavioral manifestations of autism, dementia, mood disorders, and PTSD.
Li-Huei Tsai, PhD
Li-Huei Tsai received her P.h.D degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. She joined the faculty in the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School in 1994 and was named an investigator of Howard Hughes Medical Institute in 1997. In 2006, she was appointed Professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, and joined the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT. In 2009, she became the Director for the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT.
Katharina Volz, PhD
Katharina Sophia Volz pioneered Stanford University's first Ph.D. in Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine in 2015, earning her degree in just 2.5 years. She was listed on Forbes 30u30 (Science) and has been immersed in the field of biomedical sciences for the past 12 years, starting with her attendance at Germany's Biotechnology High school. She has been awarded multiple fellowships and awards to do research in 10 labs around the world including Harvard, UCLA, HHMI, Ohio State, TU Graz and Stanford. During her Ph.D. she had a breakthrough discovering the epicardial-derived cell type that forms the coronary arteries and the signal required for this differentiation event. Dr. Volz founded OccamzRazor, an AI-driven neuroscience company OccamzRazor that is focused on creating disease-modifying treatments for Parkinson's Disease (PD) and other complex diseases.
Jamie Wheal, MA
Jamie Wheal is the co-author, along with Steven Kotler, of global bestseller Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, Navy SEALs and Maverick Scientists are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work and the co-founder of the Flow Genome Project, an international organization dedicated to the research and training of ultimate human performance.
Jamie is an expert on peak performance and leadership, specializing in the neuroscience and application of Flow states. He has advised everyone from the U.S. Naval War College and Special Operations Command, the athletes of Red Bull, and the owners of NFL, NBA, MLB, and Premier League teams to the executives of Google, Goldman Sachs, Deloitte, Cisco, and Young Presidents' Organization. His work and ideas have been covered in The New York Times, Financial Times, Wired, Entrepreneur, Harvard Business Review, Forbes, INC, and TEDx. He has spoken at Stanford, MIT, the Harvard Club, the Bohemian Club, the United Nations, Singularity University, and Summit Series.
Lauren Wolfe, PsyD
Dr. Wolfe is the Co-founder and Chief Clinical Officer of Annum Health, a venture-backed tech-enabled business that partners with large employers and health plans to provide treatment for heavy drinking. Dr. Wolfe is a licensed clinical psychologist, a certified tobacco treatment specialist and the Associate Training Director of the Health Psychology Program at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. Her keen interest in leveraging technology to improve upon and scale evidence-based treatments for heavy drinking and smoking is informed by a career that has spanned both the health and tech sectors. Dr. Wolfe was trained at the Veterans Health Administration (VA) focusing on addiction treatment and earlier in her career was the director of strategic accounts at Tanium, a global leader in cybersecurity.
Dr. Wolfe graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Stanford University and earned a doctoral degree in clinical psychology from Palo Alto University – Stanford PsyD Consortium.
Joon Yun, MD
Dr. Joon Yun is President and Managing Partner of Palo Alto Investors LP, a hedge fund founded in 1989 with $2.4 billion in assets under management and invested in healthcare. Board certified in radiology, Joon served on the clinical faculty at Stanford from 2000-2006. Joon has served on numerous boards, and he is currently a trustee of the Salk Institute. Joon is a member of the President's Circle of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Joon has published dozens of patents and scientific articles. Joon and his wife Kimberly launched the $1 million Palo Alto Longevity Prize in 2013 to reverse the aging process and recently donated $2 million to launch the National Academy of Medicine Aging and Longevity Grand Challenge. Fun fact: Joon has been going to Burning Man consecutively for the past 18 years.