2018 Speaker Bios


Dr Ayanna Howard

Ayanna Howard, Ph.D. is the Linda J. and Mark C. Smith Professor and Chair of the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Dr. Howard’s career focus is on intelligent technologies that must adapt to and function within a human-centered world. Her work, which encompasses advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), assistive technologies, and robotics, has resulted in over 250 peer-reviewed publications.  Dr. Howard received her B.S. in Engineering from Brown University, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from the University of Southern California. To date, her unique accomplishments have been highlighted through a number of awards and articles, including highlights in USA Today, Upscale, and TIME Magazine, as well as being recognized as one of the 23 most powerful women engineers in the world by Business Insider. In 2013, she also founded Zyrobotics, which is currently licensing technology derived from her research and has released their first suite of STEM educational products to engage children of all abilities. Prior to Georgia Tech, Dr. Howard was a senior robotics researcher at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She has also served as the Associate Director of Research for the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines, Chair of the Robotics Ph.D. program, and the Associate Chair for Faculty Development in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Georgia Tech.


Dr Pradipta Ghosh

Pradipta Ghosh is a professor of Medicine and Cellular and Molecular Medicine and the founding Director of the Center for Network Medicine at University of California, San Diego. Through her research which is inspired by transdisciplinary ideas and her (often unorthodox and disruptive) experimental approaches, she seeks to understand the fundamental rules of biological communication and networking with the intent to design drugs that can fix the broken machines in diverse diseases.

Michael Brett.jpg

Michael Brett

Michael Brett is Chief Executive Officer of QxBranch, a technology company solving challenging data analytics problems for finance, insurance, pharmaceuticals, media, and energy customers worldwide. Founded in 2014, QxBranch specializes in developing algorithms for predictive analytics that support businesses with decision making on pricing, risk and user behaviour.The company has unique expertise in quantum computing, an emerging new technology that will have a transformative impact on computationally-expensive problems like optimization, machine learning, and chemical simulation. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., QxBranch has offices in Adelaide and London. Michael holds an Executive Master of Business in Complex Project Management and Bachelor of Engineering in Aerospace Avionics, both from Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane. 


John Gardner

John practices Architecture at Cooper Gardner, a multidisciplinary Architecture and Design firm, and has degrees in Fine Arts and Architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design. He was instrumental in the formation of the Bermuda National Gallery and has exhibited on numerous occasions in the Bermuda Biennial.His artistic interests include three stained glass windows at The Cathedral of St John the Divine in New York, a massive sculptural installation of stone cakes celebrating the 400th anniversary of Bermuda’s settlement and creating a collaborative installation interpreting the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of the moniker “Bermuda Triangle’. As an Adjunct Critic he has taught, with Warren Schwartz, at RISD’s Architecture Department, an Advanced Architecture Studio in Composite Structures informing a Performing Arts Centre.For the past 20 years John has carried a sketchbook with him at all times. Observing, drawing and noting visual thoughts has been a committed activity during and since his studies at RISD.  In the last 7 years, as a result of travelling often, his work has focused prolifically on the experience of flying. CNN Travel acknowledged this work in October 2017 as unique and revealing.John will be sharing insights arising from working uncharacteristically in a mass market, highly regulated and claustrophobic environment.


Coral Beats

Coral Beats is an all woman Brazilian Samba Reggae Drum Band. It was formed in March of 2017 by Founder Sue Riihiluoma and is led by Musical Director Kim Deuss. Since it’s inception the group has grown to 30 members purely by word of mouth. The band is comprised of 5 different drums. They practice once a week and most members had never played a drum before. Despite how new Coral Beats is, they have had some very exciting opportunities to perform, such as opening for the Bermuda Festival’s Summer of Love performances, and the Queen's Birthday Celebrations at Government House. Coral Beats is a diverse group of women having fun and building bonds that extend far beyond the music.


Eddie Sotto

Sotto was born in Hollywood, California to a family with strong Hollywood connections. His aunt, Marilyn Sotto, is a costume illustrator and designer who worked for Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios and Walt Disney Productions, and his grandfather Edward Sotto was a scenic artist at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and a portrait artist. His cinematic design style is largely self taught with mentors drawn from motion picture production designers and Disney's original artists. Eddie has had a multifaceted career in creative design spanning over 30 years. He was Senior Vice President of Concept Design at Disney's Imagineering division, where he helmed his own Concept Development Studio and worked on key parts of Euro Disneyland and Disneyland Tokyo, as well as several of the world famous rides at the original campuses. Exporting his skills beyond “The Mouse”, Sotto branched into creating for television, restaurant, hotel and UHNW residential interiors, even into spacecraft and private aviation, where he won a recent IYAA award for best Private Jet Concept. SottoStudios still consults to Disney on marketing strategy and Resort R&D.


Dr Sam Wass

Dr Sam Wass gained a first-class undergraduate degree in Experimental Psychology at Oxford University. He has held research positions at the Brain Cognitive Development in London, and the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit at Cambridge, and is currently funded by an ESRC Future Research Leaders Fellowship, based at the University of East London. Sam’s research examines how concentration, stress and learning capacities develop during childhood. Sam has featured as an on-screen scientist in the award-winning Channel 4 series The Secret Life of 4-, 5- and 6-Year-Olds (2014-ongoing). He has fronted press campaigns for charities (National Trust, Save The Children) and commercial organisations (Tesco, Dulux, Ikea, Nickleodeon, the Cartoon Network), and has appeared on all TV networks in the UK (BBC, ITV, Sky), radio (BBC Radio 4/5, Sky) and all major national newspapers (Sun, Mirror, Daily Mail, Times, Telegraph, Independent, BBC News).


Jacqueline Olds and Richard Schwartz

Jacqueline Olds and Richard Schwartz are both psychiatrists and psychoanalysts who are married to each other and have collaborated over many years.They are Associate Clinical Professors of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and on the faculty of the Massachusetts General Hospital-McLean Hospital Psychiatry Residency Program, the Boston Psychoanalytic Institute and Society, and the Psychoanalytic Family and Couples Institute of New England.They share a particular interest in issues of loneliness and the difficulties of creating new relationships or maintaining old ones over time. The have published three books for general audiences, including Marriage in Motion: The Natural Ebb and Flow of Lasting Relationships.Their interest in addressing social disruptions of the “natural” conditions that maintain good mental health has also led them into the area of circadian rhythm, developing the first wearable tracker to “dose” bright light therapy in the treatment of depression and other conditions.


Marcel Adam Just

Marcel Just is the D.O. Hebb University Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Cognitive Brain Imaging at Carnegie Mellon University. His cognitive neuroscience research investigates the nature of high-level human thought (such as language and concept formation) by relating it to the mechanisms of the underlying brain infrastructure. The neural signatures of familiar concepts (measured with fMRI) like the thought of an apple or a hammer, or the  experience  of an emotion, are identifiable by machine learning programs, making it possible for the first time to tell whether someone is thinking of a hammer or an apple, or whether they are feeling happiness or disgust. One application of this “brain reading” approach is its potential to diagnose and suggest treatments for some psychiatric disorders. For example, in people with suicidal thoughts, the neural representations of death as well as thoughts of positive aspects of life (e.g. carefree) are systematically altered, and these alterations make it possible to diagnose suicidal ideation with very high accuracy. This research is in its infancy, but it is progressing rapidly and could enable a significant advance in understanding and enhancing human intellectual ability. 


Yomi Ayeni

Yomi Ayeni is an award winning Transmedia creator, producer, filmmaker, and storyteller. His current project , Clockwork Watch, is a retro-futurist Steampunk / Victoriana story told across graphic novels, interactive theatre, online, and film. Yomi creates experiences that bring the audience closer to the heart of a narrative. He has developed several Reality TV formats, including Global E-Missions (ITV), winner of the 2002 Broadcast Award for “Best Use of New Media”. He lectures on Transmedia Storytelling at the Royal College of Arts and lives in London.