About TEDx and TEDxUCLA:

TEDx is a grassroots initiative, created in the spirit of TED’s overall mission to research and discover “ideas worth spreading.” TEDx brings the spirit of TED to local communities around the globe through TEDx events.  TEDxUCLA started in 2012, and seeks to uncover new ideas and to share the latest research at UCLA and in the community that spark conversations and ideas.

2022 Speakers and Topics:

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A huge thank you to all that were able to join and support the afternoon of big ideas. Your ticket purchase is how we fund the production of these talks – now, we edit and post to TED.com. It usually takes us 3-4 weeks.

Thank you to all the speakers, volunteers, and you, the audience, that make this possible.

The TEDxUCLA team


Kitty Felde

Kitty Felde is an award-winning public radio journalist and writer. She is executive producer of the Book Club for Kids podcast and The Fina Mendoza Mysteries podcast. Her latest children’s book is State of the Union, a mystery about a mysterious bird that poops on the president during the State of the Union address. The books and Fina Mendoza Mysteries podcast are designed to introduce civics to children.



Music is as real as your heart

Laura Ritchie, PhD

When we’re certain what we hear, think, and feel is as impactful as the actions we take and instruments we use we can change the world. Dr Laura Ritchie uses cymatics as a tool to challenge our thinking.  

Dr Laura Ritchie is Chair of Learning and Teaching at the University of Chichester. She is vibrant in her teaching, research, music-making, and in life. Laura’s musical background is as a classical cellist, originally training in Chicago with Hans Jensen before coming to the UK to pursue her Masters and PhD (psychology of music) at the Royal College of Music. As a musician Laura spans genres and has performed both as a classical recitalist and as a member of The Mummers on Jools Holland and at Glastonbury. Laura is also a Chartered Psychologist and her recent book Yes I Can: Learn to use the Power of Self-efficacy (2021) is practical, about self-beliefs and noticing possibilities in our everyday lives to create a real sense of ‘yes’. Laura’s enthusiasm is contagious and inspires people to realize their goals through positive achievement and reach beyond their dreams.  



The Only Certainty Is Uncertainty: How to Turn the Unexpected From a Threat Into Opportunity

Christian Busch and Lexi Montée

Prof. Christian Busch (PhD) is the bestselling author of The Serendipity Mindset: The Art & Science of Creating Good Luck– “a wise, exciting, and life-changing book” (Arianna Huffington) that “provides excellent practical guidance for all” (Paul Polman, former CEO, Unilever) – and an internationally known expert in the areas of innovation, purpose-driven leadership, and serendipity. He is the director of the CGA Global Economy Program at New York University (NYU), and also teaches at the London School of Economics (LSE).
Lexi Montée is a marketing and strategy leader specializing in brand building, marketing & PR, business development, and sales. She is the Vice President of Marketing and Communications at Happiest Baby (maker of SNOO, the first robotic bassinet that calms crying and increases sleep), where she helped scale the company from ideation through launch and into a successful global company. Lexi is a passionate human rights activist and investor in purpose-driven startups. And her new favorite title she earned this year is mom.



Certainty in Small Acts

Paul Barber, PhD

Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Ph.D., Integrative Biology

Our laboratory integrates genetics, ecology, oceanography and geology to understand the processes that promote speciation in marine environments, creating marine biodiversity hotspots. For the past decade, we have focused on the fish and invertebrates of the coral reefs of the Coral Triangle, the global epicenter of marine biodiversity. Through a comparative approach, we are examining the relative importance of tectonic history, physical oceanography, and organismal ecologies in limiting genetic connectivity and promoting evolution and lineage diversification. Our recent work focuses on integrating empirical models of connectivity with predictions from geographically explicit models of contemporary and historical ocean currents. We work closely with conservation organizations such as Conservation International to translate our basic science into information that can help guide conservation planning, protecting these endangered reef ecosystems. We are also interested in the role of natural selection and adaptation in shaping population genetic patterns, particularly the role of the genetic basis of energetic performance of mitochondrial in size selective mortality of marine larvae.



Mental Health Meets Psychedelics

Burton J. Tabaac, MD FAHA

Burton is an associate professor of neurology at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, dedicated to the cutting-edge treatment and prevention of cerebrovascular diseases. He is a graduate of the fellowship program in vascular neurology at Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore, MD (2019). After graduating from AUC School of Medicine, where he earned his MD (2014), Tabaac completed a neurology residency at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson in New Brunswick, NJ. There, he was humbled to have been selected as a three-time recipient of The Arnold P. Gold Foundation’s Humanism and Excellence in Teaching Award (2016, 2017, and 2018). 



When Ignorance Becomes Awareness

Russell Lehmann:

 Russell Lehmann is an award-winning and internationally recognized motivational speaker and poet contextualizing autism, mental health, disabilities, and the overall human condition. His words have been featured in the USA Today, LA Times, NPR, Yahoo! News, Success Magazine and archived in the Library of Congress. 

A graduate of MIT’s “Leadership in the Digital Age” course, Russell sits on the national Board of Directors for The Arc and is a council member for the Autism Society of America. Russell has also been the Youth Ambassador for the mayor of Reno, Nevada, and a member of the Nevada Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities as well as the Nevada Commission on Autism Spectrum Disorders. Russell is also a contributor for Psychology Today. 



The Adolescent Brain: A Thriving Look

Adriana Galván, PhD

Dr. Adriana Galván is a Professor of Psychology at UCLA whose expertise is in adolescent brain development. She received her B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University and her PhD in Neuroscience from Cornell.  She is the Director of the Developmental Neuroscience Laboratory.  The focus of her research is on characterizing the neural mechanisms underlying adolescent behavior with an eye towards informing policy (e.g. juvenile justice).   Her research is generously funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH), National Science Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Russell Sage Foundation, Jacobs Foundation, and the William T. Grant Foundation.   Using a multimodal approach that combines brain imaging, task-based behavior, physiological assays, and daily diary methods, her current research address the following questions: 1) How do neurodevelopmental changes in cortical and striatal systems subserve characteristic adolescent behaviors, including decision making, reward sensitivity and risk-taking, and learning? 2) What is the role of context in dynamic behavioral and neurobiological changes across adolescence?; and 3) How do neural changes differ between typically and atypically developing adolescents? 



Our Bubbles of Certainty, a Perspective from My life in North Korea

Seohyun Lee

 Seohyun Lee was born and raised in central Pyongyang and received the most “prestigious” education in North Korea. Starting from her elementary years, she was honored various awards for her leadership at Kumsung Academy, which is well known to the outside world as the first lady Ri Sul Ju’s school. She then studied at Pyongyang Foreign Languages Middle & High School and majored in Chinese and English. In 2008 she enrolled at Kim Il Sung University and continued her study in the Chinese language in Foreign Language & Literature department. After moving to China with her family, she graduated from China Dongbei University of Economics and Finance in 2014 and earned the Bachelor of Science in Finance. However, during a heightened period of brutal purges by the Kim Jong Un regime, her family defected to South Korea and finally resettled in the United States in 2016. 



Processed Foods, It Is Not Your Fault

Joan Ifland, PhD, MBA

Dr. Ifland has been creating breakthroughs in recovery from food addiction from 1999 with the publication of her first popular book to 2018 with the publication of her textbook, Processed Food Addiction: Foundations, Assessment, and Recovery (CRC Press) and on to the present with the establishment of online peer support, The Addiction Reset Community (ARC). The textbook is the first academic publication describing how to diagnose and treat processed food addiction, as well as establishing the scientific basis for the disease.



30 Days of Wearing My Trash

Rob Greenfield

Rob Greenfield is an activist and humanitarian dedicated to leading the way to a more sustainable and just world. He embarks on extreme projects to bring attention to important global issues and inspire positive change. His work has been covered by media worldwide including National Geographic and he’s been named “The Robin Hood of modern times” by France 2 TV.