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Nina Tandon

The future of health care? Growing artificial hearts and bones, and safely putting them into humans.

CEO and Co-Founder of EpiBone | TED Senior Fellow

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

NINA TANDON is at 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, Tandon speaks to the innovative, symbiotic future of health care and technology—while creating it herself. 

Nina Tandon is leading the charge of biology’s industrial revolution. She is the co-founder and CEO of EpiBone, the world’s first company growing living human bone for skeletal reconstruction. The benefits of this revolutionary stem cell technology, which has already been approved by the FDA for clinical trial on humans, include simplified surgery, improved bone formation, and shorter recovery times for patients. “Being able to use your own cells means you’re empowered to heal yourself as well,” says Tandon, who also co-authored Super Cells: Building with Biology, a book cataloguing the latest biotech inventions “using nature’s building block: the cell.” Tandon is working towards a possible world where we can create our own futures, using our own genes for our own health and healing purposes.

A TED Senior Fellow (she’s spoken at three different TED conferences) and Adjunct Professor of Electrical Engineering at the Cooper Union, Tandon has a Master’s in Bioelectrical Engineering from MIT, a PhD in Biomedical Engineering, and an MBA from Columbia University. Her innovative PhD research focused on studying electrical signaling in the context of tissue engineering, and she has worked with cardiac, skin, bone, and neural tissue.


After completing her PhD, she consulted at McKinsey and Company. She is a senior fellow at the Lab for Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering at Columbia, and currently serves as an adjunct professor of Electrical Engineering at Cooper Union. She has been published in Nature Protocols and Lab on a Chip, and featured on CNN, in WIRED (who also named her one of their innovation fellows)the Guardian, and more. Tandon was named one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company, a Global Thinker by Foreign Policy, one of Crain’s New York Business 40 Under 40, and a World Economic Forum Tech Pioneer.

Speech Topics

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.

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.

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.