Nina Tandon | CEO and Co-Founder of EpiBone, TED Senior Fellow
Lavin Exclusive Speaker

Nina Tandon is on the cutting edge of science: where sci-fi meets reality. She works on growing artificial hearts and bones that can be put into the body, and studies the new frontier of biotech: homes, textiles, and videogames made of cells. Named one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business, and one of Foreign Policy’s 100 Leading Global Thinkers, she speaks on the future of healthcare and technology, and biology's new industrial revolution. 

Nina Tandon is CEO and co-founder of EpiBone, the world’s first company growing living human bones for skeletal reconstruction. She is the co-author of Super Cells: Building with Biology, a book that explores the new frontier of biotech. She is a TED Senior Fellow and Adjunct Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Cooper Union. She has a Bachelor’s in Electrical Engineering from the Cooper Union, a Master’s in Bioelectrical Engineering from MIT, a PhD in Biomedical Engineering, and an MBA from Columbia University. Her PhD research focused on studying electrical signaling in the context of tissue engineering, and has worked with cardiac, skin, bone, and neural tissue.

 

Tandon spent her early career in telecom at Avaya Labs and transitioned into biomedical engineering via her Fulbright Scholarship in Italy, where she worked on an electronic nose used to “smell” lung cancer. After completing her PhD, she consulted at McKinsey and Company, but since 2010 she has continued her work in tissue engineering. Nina has published 10 journal articles (cited > 300 times, H = 9) and six book chapters, and she has three patents. She’s been published in Nature Protocols and Lab on a Chip and has been featured on CNN and in Wired and the Guardian. She has spoken three times at TED and at the Milken and Bloomberg tech conferences. She was named one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company, a Crain’s 40 under 40 people who have achieved success in business before turning 40, and a World Economic Forum Tech Pioneer.

Speech Topics

Science
Body 3.0

Nina Tandon believes that the era of engineered tissues—like, for example, a replacement kidney grown in the lab—is just beginning. Tandon shows us how we (and our bodies) have lived through most of history (Body 1.0), and then how we evolved into “cyborgs” with implants (such as pacemakers and artificial joints, Body 2.0). Now, Body 3.0 is all about growing our OWN body parts. For her Ph.D. thesis, Tandon grew cardiac cells that beat like tiny hearts. In this thrilling and eye-opening talk, she explains the process of growing tissue and transplants, and the future of medical science. With the help of manufacturing and information technology, we are on the verge of being able to grow human tissue—and Tandon is here to walk us through this unbelievably exciting era.

Biology
Super Cells Building with Biology

From clay and stone to plastic and steel, basic building materials have always shaped our physical world and our sense of possibility. Now we are at the cusp of exploring and exploiting a new substance so groundbreaking that it challenges our very notion of what it means to build. This new material is: life. In this keynote, Nina Tandon takes us on an eye-popping tour of the tantalizing array of inventions already being created with nature’s elemental building block, the cell. Imagine the possibilities: broken bridges that have the ability to self-heal, one-stop body-shops for human body parts that render organ donation obsolete, living looms spinning high-tech fabrics, PETA-friendly porterhouse steaks—smarter, more adaptive technologies that may form our future arsenal as we confront looming challenges. With great enthusiasm, Tandon contends that we’re entering a new technological revolution, one in which we can create smarter technologies by making cells our partners in design—often on our own steam, in collaborative biohacking labs. And, she confront the thorny questions that come with playing with the power of life.

Entrepreneurship
Growing Bones (and a Business) An Entrepreneur’s Journey

In a highly competitive field like technology, what does it take to start—and grow—a business? In this talk, Nina Tandon shares her entrepreneurial journey. She addresses everything from funding projects with extremely long go-to-market lead times; to learning from your end user; to community engagement; to team-building; to creativity and innovation. Learn the key ingredients to being a successful entrepreneur from a truly unique innovator and technologist.