2017 : Speakers at One Step Further

TEDxUniversityofGlasgow proudly presents the speakers for our 2017 Conference below. The 'Watch Talk' buttons will become active following the event on Saturday the 4th March 2017. Enjoy the Conference !




Amal Azzudin

Amal Azzudin is a campaigner for human rights and social justice in Scotland. Within the Mental Health Foundation she takes responsibly for the development and delivery of new and innovative work with asylum seekers and refugees. Amal has a BA in Community Development and an MSc in Human Rights and International Politics from the University of Glasgow. Amal is well known as one of the Glasgow Girls, a group of seven school girls from Drumchapel High School who campaigned to stand up against dawn raids, detention and deportation of asylum seekers in Glasgow. The Glasgow Girls story has since been turned into two BBC documentaries, a stage musical and a television musical drama. Amal continues to campaign and has visited refugees in Greece and Calais. In August 2016, Amal was named as one of the Saltire Society's Outstanding Women of Scotland inductees alongside such illustrious company as JK Rowling, Annie Lennox and Sarah Brown.

Ellen Simmons

Despite her avid ability to construct IKEA furniture from a young age, Ellen didn't know what an engineer was until she decided to go to university. Bridging the gap between her interests in biology and physics, Biomedical Engineering was an ideal career choice, and Ellen's passion for her field gave her the motivation to ensure other young girls would be aware of the options available for them across the engineering discipline. The FemEng society was formed in 2013 at the University of Glasgow to provide a support network for current students and to facilitate outreach activities towards schools and colleges. Little did they know they would find themselves in the capital city of Rwanda only three years later.

Erin Kilborn

A doctor, a humanitarian, an explorer. Erin Kilborn is a Glasgow-trained physician working both on the front lines of the NHS in Scotland, and in the field with organisations such as MSF (Doctors without Borders) and as expedition doctor in varied environments including the jungles of Borneo, post-earthquake Haiti, the capital of war-torn Central African Republic, and the Peruvian Amazon. Through stories and snapshots of her varied experiences, she shares with you why communication is the centre of what makes a good doctor, and helps us advance our personal and professional relationships to enrich our own life experience, but especially maximises the positive, and sometimes negative impact on the people around us.

John Lindberg

John works as Technology Officer for Weinberg Next Nuclear, the world's only charity promoting advanced nuclear power and is an Associate Member of Scientists for Accurate Radiation Information. He currently researches nuclear fear, risk communication strategies, and misconceptions surrounding nuclear waste management. John spent three years as a policy adviser in the Scottish Parliament, as well as having spent time in Westminster and the European Parliament. He represented the UK in the Young European Council's Energy & Climate Action Committee, serving as Secretary-General. He graduated from the University of Glasgow in 2016 with a degree in Political Sciences, before enrolling for an MA in Climate Change at King's College, London.

Lovisa Sundin

A Swedish fourth-year undergraduate in computing science and psychology at University of Glasgow. Since high school, she has been fascinated by the nature of mental imagery and the role of metaphors in underpinning abstract thought. This has driven her to the technical challenge of representing mathematical and computational concepts through visual metaphors, and inspired ideas of how encouraging this could improve education. When she doesn't study - or tries to visualise what she studies - she enjoys coffee, walking and writing.

Oudai Tozan

A holder of two master degrees, a winner of the Chevening Scholarship and a previous champion in swimming. Oudai has finished a BSc and MSc in Human Resource Management in his home country, Syria, and recently he finished his second MSc in International Business and Entrepreneurship with a distinction from the University of Glasgow. He has a strong passion for learning, development and community service, which he plans to continue the rest of his career supporting these fields.

Ross Anderson

Having battled mental health issues, panic disorder, and being sentenced to 2 years in jail at 23 Ross is now a motivational speaker and coach with his area of expertise concentrating on human potential with a focus on the scientific systems. He studied positive psychology, neuroscience, sleep, social and psychological disorders at Glasgow University. Ross is a member of the BPS and a fully qualified personal trainer and life coach. As a result of viewing the pain of many, including himself, he decided to be a source of motivation and mentor for those who wish to live their lives to the fullest. His mission is to help 1 million lives actualise their potential.

Roland Kao

Rowland Kao is Professor of Mathematical Population Biology in the Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health and Comparative Medicine at the University of Glasgow. Originally trained in Condensed Matter Physics, after his Ph.D. he moved to the field of infectious disease epidemiology, specialising in understanding the population dynamics of diseases of livestock. He first began applying the principles of social networks in the transmission of disease to understanding how foot-and-mouth disease spread so rapidly throughout Britain in 2001. Among other research questions he works on, he now uses combinations of genetic and network data to understand the role of badgers in the transmission of bovine Tuberculosis in British cattle. He regularly provides evidence to the Scottish Government and Defra on the control of livestock diseases, and he is a founding member and past director of the Boyd Orr Centre for Population and Ecosystem Health. Rowland will be talking about how social networks help us to understand connectivity in everything from diseases to relationships to American politics.

Ryan Murdoch



A fan of emergent and developing technology, Ryan explores the realities of Brain-Computer Interfacing. Presenting a method of communicating with machines using only our thoughts, looking at the history of the technology and its place in educational games. Ryan Murdoch is currently studying Serious Games and Virtual Reality at Glasgow School of Art's School of Simulation and Visualisation. Studying educational games, cutting edge technology and how the two can work together to develop new ways for us to learn.

Steve Backshall



After leaving Exeter University with a degree in English and Theatre Studies, Steve studied martial arts in Japan attaining his black belt. Over the following years Steve wrote for the Indonesian Rough Guides and during his travels became conversant in the local language, drank blood with uncontacted tribes, nearly got caught in fatal crossfire in riots in East Timor, came nose to nose with Komodo Dragons and attempted to walk solo across Irian Jaya. Armed with an idea for a television series, Steve headed out to Colombia. Whilst living in the jungle he wrangled snakes and ended up in a Colombian jail (through no fault of his own)! National Geographic Channel International bought the resultant video and Steve was taken on as 'Adventurer in Residence', producing, filming and presenting adventure and natural history programmes. Steve has circumnavigated the globe time and again, venturing into the Sinai desert , completing the Israeli paratroopers selection course, catching anacondas, vipers and cobras and (perhaps the best job ever) making "The Ten Great Dives of the World", for the long-running series 'Earthpulse'.

Dr. Paul McCarthy



Dr. Paul McCarthy is a lecturer and researcher in psychology at Glasgow Caledonian University. He practises privately as a sport and exercise psychologist at St Andrews Links Golf Academy serving amateur and professional golfers on various international tours. His research examines issues within applied sport psychology and various constructs within positive psychology. As well as publishing peer - reviewed research, he also publishes academic and popular books on sport and exercise psychology.

Elizabeth Dirth



Elizabeth is the current Chair of the 2050 Climate Group. She previously held the position of Vice Chair of the group from 2014 to 2016 and was one of the founding members of the group. After spending 4 years working in sustainability and climate change for Keep Scotland Beautiful and the University of the West of Scotland, Elizabeth has recently gone back to postgraduate study to pursue an MSc in Sustainable Development, focusing on climate governance. Elizabeth's key areas of expertise are leadership, stakeholder and public engagement, climate change and sustainability policy.