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Comedian and presenter Dara Ó Briain to host Imagining the Future of Medicine at iconic venue

30 January, 2014

TEDMED curator Jay Walker also confirmed as a special guest at the Royal Albert Hall to celebrate the power of unexpected connections between medicine and the arts

As part of its mission to promote access to the arts and sciences, the Royal Albert Hall is delighted to announce a historic event on Monday 21 April 2014, celebrating the future of medicine and healthcare, and hosted by Irish comedian and presenter Dara Ó Briain with special guest and TEDMED curator Jay Walker.

Following the sold-out success of TEDxAlbertopolis held at the Hall in September, which trended at number 1 on Twitter in the UK and was streamed internationally with viewers as far afield as Canada, Chile and China, Imagining the Future of Medicine will feature inspiring short talks and stunning artistic performances that celebrate the power of unexpected connections to create exciting possibilities.

Imagining the Future of Medicine will curate a spectacular and provocative programme of talks from the world’s experts on the world’s most famous stage, and encompass themes such as: Medicine Without Borders, looking into global medical innovation; Thinking Outside the Box, investigating emerging perspectives in modern medicine; and Translating the Untranslatable, visiting medical concepts not fully understood.

Two very lucky attendees to Imagining the Future of Medicine will receive complimentary Delegate passes to attend TEDMED in Washington DC and San Francisco in September 2014.

The speakers announced as of January 2014 are as follows:

Jay Walker is the Curator and Chairman of TEDMED.  Founder of three companies that each serve more than 50 million customers, Jay is the world’s 11th most patented living inventor, with his name on 700 U.S. patents across a dozen different industries.  Best known as the founder of Priceline, Jay is also the founder and curator of the world's only Library of The History of Human Imagination. Jay will share with us spectacular treasures from his library.

Ben Goldacre, former TED and TEDMED speaker, is a doctor, academic, campaigner and bad science writer whose work focuses on uses and misuses of science and statistics. He is the founder of the All Trials campaign and a keen advocate for clinical transparency.

Chris Toumazou, former TEDMED speaker, is the recipient of Imperial College London’s first Regius Professorship. In the field of devices for medical diagnosis and therapy, Toumazou is pre-eminent amongst the global community of contemporary medical engineers.

Tali Sharot, former TED speaker, investigates how people are resistant to warnings, the reasons for this, and what can be done about it. Tali’s research demonstrates that our brains aren’t just shaped by the past; they are constantly being shaped by the future.

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, former TED speaker, studies the social brain (the network of brain regions involved in understanding other people) and how it develops in adolescents. While many still see adolescence as a source for jokes, Blakemore has found it to be a rich seam of research.

Francis Wells developed a novel way to repair damaged hearts after being inspired by Leonardo da Vinci’s medical drawings. Using this method, he has successfully completed over two thousand mitral valve repairs.

Ali Parsa pioneered the staff-owned company Circle that took over an NHS hospital, and is now embarking on a new venture to help patients around the world by developing a technology to deliver healthcare services to patients globally, called Babylon Partners.

Mark Wilson has worked extensively overseas as a researcher for NASA and as an expedition doctor on Arctic and Everest expeditions. He is a Consultant Neurosurgeon and PreHospital Care Specialist working at both the St Mary's Major Trauma Centre and on London's Air Ambulance.

The programme will also feature a series of stunning artistic performances, including The Kaos Signing Choir for Deaf & Hearing Children, who entertained millions at the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony.

Prior to the stage programme, biotech showcase The Cell makes its London debut at the Sir Alexander Fleming Building, Imperial College London, just minutes away from the Royal Albert Hall. The Cell will showcase the ingenuity of a variety of innovators, inspiring impulses of creativity, whilst forming new connections between people and ideas. Attendees have the opportunity to observe and participate in this diffusion of new ideas and technologies before making their way across the synapse to the main event at the Royal Albert Hall. The founder of the most innovative company at The Cell will receive a complimentary TEDMED Delegate pass and, with special consideration, the company may even be selected to showcase at the Hive of the TEDMED event in the United States this September. Please note that for attendees, registration to The Cell is on a first come, first served basis and only open to those who have already purchased a ticket for Imagining the Future of Medicine.

Well known as a performance venue for the world’s most popular artists, the Royal Albert Hall is also a charity dedicated to increasing access to the arts and sciences, supporting the cultural life of the country, and inspiring future generations. Named the Royal Albert Hall of the Arts and Sciences, it has not only championed live performances of the highest quality for over 140 years but also hosted scientific talks and events featuring the likes of Albert Einstein, Stephen Hawking, and Richard Dawkins. In 2012, the Hall hosted the world’s first live science lesson to be broadcast via Facebook.

Chris Cotton, Chief Executive at the Royal Albert Hall, said: “The success of our TEDxAlbertopolis event last year demonstrated a real interest in and passion for exploring science amongst our public. The Hall’s charitable purpose has always been to promote the arts and the sciences and engage future generations and it has an incredible history of performance combined with key scientific events.  Imagining the Future of Medicine looks set offer yet more creativity to London and we hope it will inspire current and future scientists to explore and develop further advances in medicine.”

Ali Rezaei Haddad, the organiser of Imagining the Future of Medicine, said: “Our inaugural TEDMED Live event at Imperial College London in 2013 attracted delegates of all backgrounds from California to Tokyo. For 2014, we are thrilled to partner with Royal Albert Hall to create a spectacular stage program aiming to deliver a year’s worth of ideas, insights and inspiration about the world of medicine in just one day at the world’s most iconic venue. This year, we have the pleasure and good fortune of having Jay Walker as our special guest. Due to the popularity of our workshops last year, we are also launching The Cell, our biotech showcase, on the morning of the event. Prepare to be inspired to novel ways of thinking and new avenues of endeavour.”

Listings Information:
Imagining the Future of Medicine -
Monday 21 April 2014, timings 2pm – 7pm

Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2AP

Tickets £7.10 - £32.60, on sale now

Royal Albert Hall Box Office 020 7589 8212

For more information about contact Jessica Silvester on 020 7959 0510/ or Sean Carrigan on 020 7959 0531/

For more information about Imagining the Future of Medicine contact Ali Rezaei Haddad:

Twitter: @ImagineMed #ImagineMed


About Royal Albert Hall
The Royal Albert Hall is the world’s most famous stage. Its breathtaking auditorium hosts over 370 shows a year by the world’s greatest artists. The magical atmosphere combined with inspired artists creates legendary events.

Opened in 1871 as part of Prince Albert’s vision for a centre for the Arts and Sciences, the Hall is a registered charity which operates without public funding, remaining true to his founding ambitions within a modern context. Extending the brand with 200 events outside the auditorium, the Hall has broadened its appeal to younger, diverse audiences whilst still engaging its existing customers.

The Hall also offers the Elgar Room, a state-of-the-art small-scale performance space which hosts performances of classical music, jazz and world music, comedy, dance and hush, a series of gigs for just signed bands throughout the year. In the main auditorium, it offers the Albert Sessions, an initiative that encourages up and coming acts to play at the Hall by offering reduced rental fees to promoters and lower ticket prices to encourage younger audiences to visit the Hall. It also works extensively with schools, young people, disadvantaged groups and partners such as Music For Youth through its Education programme, reaching over 100,000 participants each year as part of its extensive public benefit remit. It has also been appointed by the Arts Council as one of the country’s regional music education hubs.

For more information, please visit Registered charity number: 254543

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For press enquiries, please contact:

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020 7959 0531

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020 7959 0500 Ext 3004

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020 7959 0510

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