x = independently organized TED event

Theme: Beyond the genes: Identity, health, culture

This event occurred on
April 13, 2013
10:00am - 6:00pm BST
(UTC +1hr)
London, LND
United Kingdom

TEDxKingsCollege London will bring together speakers from a range of backgrounds to explore how our health, identity and culture go beyond our genes to create unique individuals in an ever-changing world

2 Savoy Place
London, LND, WC2R 0BL
United Kingdom
Event type:
University (What is this?)
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Speakers may not be confirmed. Check event website for more information.

Julian Baggini

Julian Baggini is the author of several books, including Welcome to Everytown: A Journey into the English Mind (Granta), Complaint (Profile) and The Ego Trick (Granta). He has written for numerous newspapers and magazines, including the Guardian, the Financial Times, Prospect and the New Statesman, as well as for the think tanks The Institute of Public Policy Research and Demos. He is founding editor of The Philosophers’ Magazine ( He has been writer-in-residence for the National Trust at the White Cliffs of Dover and philosopher-in-residence at the Cheltenham Literature Festival and Wellington College. He has also appeared as a cameo in two Alexander McCall-Smith novels

Simon Baron-Cohen

Simon Baron-Cohen is Professor of Developmental Psychopathology at the University of Cambridge and Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge. He is the Director of the Autism Centre in Cambridge. He is the author of several books such as Mindblindness, The Essential Difference, Prenatal Testosterone in Mind and Zero Degrees of Empathy. He is the author of the DVDs Mind Reading and The Transporters to help children with autism to learn emotion recognition. Both were nominated for BAFTA awards.

Kathy Lette

Kathy Lette first achieved success de scandale as a teenager with the novel "Puberty Blues", which was made into a major film and a TV mini-series. After several years as a newspaper columnist and television sitcom writer in L.A. and N.Y, she wrote twelve international bestsellers including “Mad Cows” (the film starred Joanna Lumley and Anna Friel), “How to Kill Your Husband and Other Handy Household Hints” (recently staged by the Victorian Opera), “To Love, Honour and Betray”, “The Boy Who Fell To Earth” and “Love is Blind.” Her novels have been published in seventeen languages. Kathy appears regularly as a guest on the BBC and CNN News. She is an ambassador for Women and Children First, Plan International and the White Ribbon Alliance. In 2004 she was the London Savoy Hotel’s Writer in Residence where a cocktail named after her can still be ordered. Kathy is an autodidact (a word she taught herself) but in 2010, received an honorary doctorate from Southampton Solent University.

Tim Spector

A professor of Genetic Epidemiology and Founder of TwinsUK. He has demonstrated the genetic basis of a wide range of common diseases, previously thought to be mainly due to ageing and environment. He has published over 600 research articles in prestigious journals including Science and Nature. He is currently at the forefront of research in Epigenetics - a new exciting research area into how genes can be altered. He is the author of several books for the scientific and public communities, most recently " Identically Different, why you can change your genes", and presents regularly in the media.

Caroline White

Caroline White is a working mum living in Bath with her husband Simon and her two boys Seb, aged 5, and Dominic aged 2. She hit the headlines in late 2012 (including the front page of The Times) when, after a plea from her on their Facebook page to represent ‘difference’, M&S used her eldest son Seb in their Christmas TV advertising campaign. Seb has Down’s Syndrome. Caroline’s passion is to raise awareness of the condition and help to shift outdated perceptions.

Ellis Watson

Ellis Watson is Chief Executive of DC Thomson publishing, one of the world's largest family owned media groups. He was previously global CEO of Syco Entertainment, the joint venture between Simon Cowell and Sony - running the global format and commercial strategies for X Factor and Got Talent, as well as the recorded music businesses. The Syco appointment followed spells on the board of Menzies and FirstGroup, the huge public transport operator with brands from First Great Western to America'sGreyhound Bus network. Before that he was at the helm of Mirror Group Newspapers, running five national titles. Ellis' first break came as a young Marketing Director at The Sun and The News of the World, moving on to take charge of the new digital business and reporting directly to Rupert Murdoch. After ten years at News Corporation he became CEO of Celador International - licensing Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? to 100 countries and overseeing 130 consumer products.

Rosalie David

Professor Rosalie David, OBE, BA, PhD, FRSA is Director of the KNH Centre for Biomedical Egyptology at the University of Manchester. The focus of her career has been the establishment of a new university specialisation – biomedical research within the field of Egyptology – to provide a different approach to understanding the civilisation of ancient Egypt. Graduating with a BA Degree in Ancient History from University College London, she subsequently pursued a PhD study of ancient Egyptian temple ritual at The University of Liverpool. Rosalie has lectured at universities in many countries, is the author of over 30 books and many articles in peer-reviewed journals, and has been consultant and contributor to several television documentaries.She was awarded an OBE in 2003

Nick Barratt

Dr Nick Barratt is an author, historian and broadcaster. His background as a medieval historian, specialising in 13th century state finance and fiscal history, led him to a career at The National Archives, before leaving to fund Sticks Research Agency and a new role in the media as specialist researcher, television and radio presenter, journalist and author. He is perhaps best known for his work in genealogy, following his lead role in the successful BBC series "Who Do You Think You Are", and has been advocating personal heritage, ancestral tourism and the use of identity to bring various curriculum subjects to life in mainstream education’

Kristin and Maren Hallenga

Twin sisters Kristin and Maren Hallenga are the founders of breast cancer awareness charity CoppaFeel! Following Kristin’s diagnosis with secondary breast cancer in 2009, they made it their mission to ensure other young people don’t find themselves in a similar situation to Kris; where they’re told the cancer cannot be cured because it was found late. Kristin has been tested for the known breast cancer genes but is not a carrier, yet Maren still stands a slightly higher chance of being diagnosed with the disease. Having established their mottos as “You can’t polish a turd but you can roll it in glitter”, these twins show continuous strength and determination, working tirelessly on raising awareness amongst young people throughout the UK.

Mark Colbourne MBE

Mark Colbourne is Great Britain’s newest Gold medal Paralympian in the sport of cycling. Mark Colbourne has gone through hell and back to reach his first Paralympic Games at London 2012, after he broke his back in a near fatal paragliding accident in May 2009 and even though he was left with lower leg paralysis and drop foot in both feet, he fought for 12 months to learn to walk again with walking aids and now prides himself as a full time professional Para-cyclist for his country. He was the superhuman athlete behind the very first medal won for Paralympics GB at the London 2012 home games with his well-deserved Silver medal on the track in the 1km individual time trial. He obtained a 3 second personal best time but was piped for the Gold by the new World Record holder from China. In the 2013 New Year's Honours, Mark was awarded a MBE.

Chidi Ngwaba

Dr Chidi is the UK’s most high profile ‘Lifestyle Doctor’ . Trained in surgery, general practice & Lifestyle Medicine he shows that by changing people’s lifestyles he can help eradicate and reverse many of the chronic illnesses today such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer as well as helping people lose weight. He trained as a surgeon at two of the UK’s leading hospitals, Cambridge Addenbrookes & Papworth Hospital as well as John's Hopkins USA. He left surgery and turned to lifestyle medicine after realising that medicine and surgery alone could not cure people with chronic illnesses and the only way to really cure them was to actually change their lifestyles. Dr Chidi even opened two 'health-focused' restaurants while working as a Surgeon in Soho London called ‘Plant’ where he was able to put many of his ‘lifestyle’ practices with food to the test over the years which cemented his beliefs that illnesses could be reversed through dietary changes.

Chris Hammond

Professor Chris Hammond is Frost Chair of Clinical Ophthalmology at King’s College London and an NIHR Senior Research Fellow studying the genetics of common age-related eye diseases. Based at the Department of Twin Research and Genetic Epidemiology at St Thomas’ Hospital, his research has focused on the genetics of myopia, glaucoma, and age-related cataract using –omics technologies including genome-wide association studies, whole-genome sequencing, and epigenetics, and in particular measuring quantitative healthy variation in these traits in 3000-5000 twins. He has also performed twin studies to examine the heritability of macular pigment, dry eye, pupillary responses


Born in London and now based in Cardiff, Wales, Lynne Barrett-Lee has been a full time author since the mid nineties. She had her first novel, the acclaimed Julia Gets a Life, published by Bantam in 2000, and has since written seven further romantic comedy novels, including her 2006 work, Barefoot in the Dark, which was shortlisted for the inaugural Melissa Nathan Award. Lynne began her second career as a ghostwriter in 2007, when approached by one of her husband’s former patients to help her tell her life story. Since that successful collaboration she has been ghostwriting full time. She has worked on projects as diverse as a memoir about the world’s tallest dog, Giant George, and the incredible story of a young Columbian girl raised by Capuchin monkeys. She also co-writes - pseudonymously - a series of memoirs for one of the World’s leading publishers. Seven of her titles have been Sunday Times bestsellers. When away from her keyboard, which these days isn’t often, Lynne teaches a course in the craft of novel writing at Cardiff University, which she loves. And not because she loves the sound of her own voice. Not at all.

Robin Sebastian

Robin Sebastian originally trained at Manchester University, reading History of Art. On leaving he became an architectural perspective artist. After six years he retrained at The Arts Educational Schools Acting Company. His theatre credits include Robin Craigie in 'Volcano' by Noel Coward (The Vaudeville), Kenneth Williams in 'Round the Horne revisited' (West End, tour and Royal Variety Performance 2004), 'Round the Horne Unseen and Uncut', 'Stop Messing About' (West End and Tour) and 'Twice Ken is Plenty' (BBC Radio 4). Other work includes Lt Gruber in ''Allo 'Allo' (tour), Carmen Ghia in 'The Producers' Uk tour playing opposite Peter Kay, Cardinal Richelieau in 'The Three Musketeers' (Bristol Old Vic), 'Macbeth and the Beanstalk' and 'Oedipus the Pantomime' both with Mitchell and Webb. TV work includes 'Spooks', 'My Family', 'Sherlock' and 'Holy Flying Circus'.

Jessie Moncrieff

Originally a classically trained violin player, Jessie took up the guitar and began writing songs whilst travelling Europe in 2008. She eventually settled in London after spending a year tracing her family roots back to the Midlands, UK, and exploring Indian, Scottish and various other styles of folk music from around the world. She currently plays with a wonderful band featuring Bobby Williams, Iain Ross, Natasha Kraemer and Helen Kruger. The group have been performing Jessie’s songs in small venues and house concerts around London and are currently focussed on recording a new album together. Jessie’s first EP was released by the label A Future Without in 2010 with the title track Georgie, as well as the beautifully arranged Mind's Eye, included on a number of compilation records including one for the lovely Folk Room collective based in London. Alongside her own group Jessie plays with Cambridge-based band Gerard and the Watchmen. The Watchmen appeared at Cambridge Folk Festival, Secret Garden Party, The Royal Albert Hall and a number of music festivals around Europe last year. They are currently recording a new album

Chris Keys

With the release of his 6 song debut Ep ‘New day’ and a successful Ep launch at a packed Black Box theatre in Belfast, Singer-songwriter Chris Keys is definitely ‘… One to watch in 2012′, as quoted by Clash Magazine. Tracks from the Ep have been well received on local radio stations including the Gerry Anderson show on BBC Radio Ulster. Chris has performed at many successful events throughout the UK and Ireland which have included; ‘Stendhal Festival’, ‘The Ruby Sessions’, ‘Tanglewood Music Festival’, ‘Boyle Arts Festival’, ‘Indie week Ireland’, ‘Acoustic Edinburgh’, ‘The Zodiac Sessions’, ‘Ram Jam’, ‘Tipperary peace convention’, ‘Maiden City festival’, mini tour of Scotland & much more. He has had live sessions on Drive Fm, Blast Fm, Queens Radio, Balcony Tv & Bandwagon Tv. Chris has also supported bands such as Microlip, The Curtain Thieves, Robb Murphy, Best Boy Grip, Ricky Warwick and many other great acts.

David Collier

Professor David A Collier joined Eli Lilly and Company in April 2012 with the aim to apply the genetics of psychiatric disorders to the drug development process. Collier is also a visiting Professor of Neuropsychiatric Genetics at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College, London (Social Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry), where he was a faculty member for two decades before joining Eli Lilly. He was awarded a European Molecular Biology Organisation long term fellowship in 1989 and spent 18 months at the Museum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris France, continuing his studies on the biochemistry and biophysics of DNA. He has dedicated his career to unravelling the genetic component of a number of psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and epilepsy.

Claire Steves

Claire is a practicing geriatrician who has recently taken to research to try to understand how some older individuals become frail, while others successfully age. She graduated with first class honours from Cambridge University and Bart’s and the London Medical School, and spent several years working the acute medicine wards in central London. Finding so many unanswered questions about how we treat, and how we might prevent frailty, she competed for and won a Wellcome Trust Research Fellowship to investigate the key to successful ageing within older twins.

Organizing team


London Uk, United Kingdom
  • Sarah Metrustry
    Team Member
  • Liisa Bevan
    Team Member
  • Kirsten Ward
    Team Member
  • Irina Gillham-Nasenya
    Team Member
  • Deborah Hart
    Team Member
  • Juliette Harris
    Team Member
  • Genevieve Lachance
    Team Member
  • Barbara Prainsack
    Team Member
  • Sol Gaillot
    Team Member