By @SimonCocking

TEDxUCD 2015 will take place on Friday 4 December (10 am – 4 pm) in the UCD Dramsoc Theatre in the UCD Student Centre. See more here.

Below we have mini bios and tasters about the speakers and the topics they will talk about. However if you prefer to be surprised on the day then read no further …

Dr Cara Augustenborg: Fossil Free Ireland

The activities we’ve undertaken since the Industrial Revolution have us on a trajectory of reaching 3 to 5 degrees of warming from pre-industrial temperatures by 2100. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that if we want to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we have to keep the Earth’s average surface temperature under 2 degrees Celsius of additional warming. This means we have to nearly eliminateuse of fossil fuels by 2050.

It sounds impossible without catastrophic changes to our quality of life, but to understand if this really is the solution to climate change, I had to find out for myself, as I will outline in my TEDxUCD 2015 talk, what becoming fossil free in the next 35 years would mean to our daily lives by looking at our future homes, energy, transport and food systems.

Dr Brendan Rooney: Controlling Emotions: Movies and (Virtual) Reality

Dr Brendan Rooney is a lecturer in the UCD School of Psychology where he studied both at undergraduate and postgraduate level, completing his PhD in the Psychology of Film in 2011.

His research interests include the cognitive and emotional engagement with media, arts and entertainment. He is particularly interested in how media ‘realism’ interacts with emotion and social cognition.  Through his research and teaching he has worked as part of a number of interdisciplinary and international research teams, with creative and entertainment industry experts.

In addition to UCD he has also worked as a graduate researcher and lecturer in NCAD and IADT.

He founded and currently chairs the Psychological Society of Ireland’s Special Interest Group for Media, the Arts & Cyberpsychology (SIGMAC).

Dr Charlotte Blease: Philosophy is a Right

Dr Charlotte Blease is a cognitive scientist and philosopher of medicine. She studied Science Policy and Communication at University College London and received her doctorate in Philosophy from Queen’s University, Belfast.

Charlotte is currently Wellcome Trust Non-Clinical Research Fellow at the Centre for Medical Humanities, University of Leeds and Research Affiliate at the Program in Placebo Studies, Harvard Medical School.

She is passionate about public education (including Philosophy for Children) and the public understanding of medicine and healthcare. In 2012 she was selected as one of BBC Radio 3‘s New Generation Thinkers, and is a regular contributor to BBC radio and national literary festivals (TEDx, BBC Free Thinking Festival, Medicine Unboxed).

Dr Marcus Collier: Novel Ecosystems

Dr Marcus Collier is a Senior Research Fellow and principal investigator in the UCD School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy.

His research seeks to find collaborative methods to address complex societal and ecological questions that affect the future of the planet. Marcus researches in human-created habitats: the ever changing, complex and fascinating interface between ecology and society. He is especially interested in rewilding both damaged landscapes and the humans that live within them.

Marcus is the leader of the TURAS project, focused on demonstrating ideas for building resilience in urban communities using nature-based ideas. This is a €6.8 million EU FP7-funded project with 28 partners across Europe and 2 in Taiwan, which Marcus co-devised and was awarded in 2011. His project won a Champions of European Research Award in 2011.

Marcus completed his PhD at UCD in social-ecological interactions in severely damaged landscapes in 2009 and is also a panel member of the European Research Council. 

Dr Fred Cummins: We Speak Therefore We Are

Dr Fred Cummins is a lecturer in the UCD School of Computer Science with particular interests in the co-ordination within and among people and in the links between rhythm, speech, and language.

His research is currently focused on the rich topic of joint speech, where two or more people say the same thing at the same time. This includes chanting, prayer, recitation, and the like, and it is a special case of the more general domain of highly synchronised activity.

He graduated with a BA in Computer Science, Linguistics and German from Trinity College Dublin and an MA and also a PhD in Cognitive Science and Linguistics from Indiana University.

Steven Duggan: Sickness – Illiteracy as a Fatal Illness

Steven Duggan, who has worked in education for over 30 years, is Director of Worldwide Education Strategy at Microsoft Corporation.

Steven graduated from University College Dublin with a BA and H.Dip. in Education.

He is currently a member of the Governing Board of the UNESCO Institute for Information Technologies in Education (IITE). He also serves on the executive board of the New Pedagogies for Deep Learning global partnership and as industry representative on a variety of educational bodies and partnerships, including the Matuto: Literacy For Life Partnership and the Collaborative Assessment Alliance.

Dr Virginie Gautier: HIV Cure: What Lies Beneath ?

Dr Virginie Gautier is a Principal Investigator at the UCD Centre for Research in Infectious Diseases (CRID) in the UCD School of Medicine.

Her research programmes focus on the HIV-Host interface and HIV-CURE research. The core expertise of Dr Gautier’s research group lies in molecular and cellular virology, epigenetics, functional genomics and dynamic microscopy.

At the molecular level, the HIV-Host interface is a fundamental aspect of HIV latency and persistence. To delineate the intersection between HIV and cellular pathways, Dr Gautier has developed innovative interdisciplinary strategies, including system-wide proteomics, metabolomics, and RNAi screenings.

These exploratory approaches have led to the identification of key druggable targets, which are currently under investigation as part of her HIV-CURE Programme which is funded by the Health Research Board, the Irish Research Council and Horizon 2020.

Duncan Lennox: The Misunderstood Brain and the Science of Knowledge Retention

Duncan Lennox is the CEO and co-founder of Qstream (@Qstream), a mobile-first predictive analytics company, and spin-out from Harvard Medical School. Under his leadership and strategic vision, Qstream has become a fast-growth provider of dynamic sales enablement solutions, capturing the attention of some of the world’s largest enterprise accounts including Xerox, MasterCard and Genentech.

Prior to Qstream, Duncan co-founded and served as CTO of WBT Systems, a spin-out from UCD’s School of Computer Science which developed an award-winning eLearning platform now used by millions of corporate professionals.

He is an information fanatic, an Apple groupie, a practitioner of Aikido, and a private pilot.

Maeve O’Rourke: Why Apologise Today for Historic Abuse ?

Maeve O’Rourke is a human rights lawyer and a barrister in London, where her practice to date has been in family law and international group/complex tort litigation. She has previously worked for the international women’s human rights organisation Equality Now, the Massachusetts Office of the Child Advocate (pro bono) and Just for Kids Law.

In 2013 she was named UK Family Law Pro Bono Lawyer of the Year for her legal work on the Justice for Magdalenes campaign. In 2014 she was awarded the inaugural UCD Alumni Award in Law in recognition of her outstanding humanitarian work securing justice for the victims of the Magdalene Laundries.

She is a graduate of the UCD Sutherland School of Law and Harvard Law School. She is currently researching for a PhD at Birmingham Law School on the human rights of older persons to freedom from torture and ill-treatment.



Amy Fox

Amy Fox is a 22 year old student from Co. Westmeath who is studying Business and Law at UCD where she discovered a passion for debating and joined the UCD Law Society committee for a hugely enjoyable two years.

In March 2014 she was elected as UCD Students’ Union Education Officer for the 2014/15 academic year. The Education Officer is a full-time role which has dual responsibilities; a personal peer support and professional representative of the UCD student population.

Highlights of her year included the introduction of the UCDSU Skills for Life and Alternative Careers Programme, the successful University and national Marriage Equality campaigns, and representing UCD at the Universitas 21 Global Leaders Network conference in Singapore.

During her time at UCD Amy has developed an interest in the well-being of fellow students, fostered her belief in the benefits of extra-curricular learning and self-progression and refined her ability to make a great cup of tea!

If you would like to have your company featured in the Irish Tech News Business Showcase, get in contact with us at [email protected] or @SimonCocking

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