MedTech Experts Rock SXSW in March!

The energy of SXSW has always been a strong reflection of the energy of Austin. With the recent completion of the University of Texas Dell Medical School, we see more and more of this city’s future energy pushing into Health and Medicine (and various related industries). Hence the continued growth and development of the March 10–14 “Health” track at SXSW 2017. Some of the most forward-thinking MedTech-related experts who will be part of these sessions for this year’s event include:

  1. Polina Anikeeva. An Assistant Professor Materials Science & Engineering at MIT, Anikeeva conducts her research on field of neuroprosthetics and brain-machine interfaces. She explores optoelectronic, fiber-based and magnetic approaches to minimally invasive neural interrogation. Catch her insights on Saturday, March 11 at the “Future Body: Modulating the Nervous System” panel.
  2. Farzad Azimpour MD. He serves as the Director of Health at IDEO Palo Alto, a position that underscores the increasing convergence between medicine and design. Azimpour lends his expertise to the “Hacking Your Health: Future or FAIL?” session on Saturday, March 11.
  3. Anthony Bossis. A Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at New York University School of Medicine, Bossis is investigator in FDA-approved psilocybin-generated mystical experience research. He is Director of Palliative Care Research, Co-Principal Investigator, and a psilocybin session guide for the NYU clinical trial investigating the efficacy of a psilocybin-generated mystical experience upon the existential and psycho-spiritual distress in persons with cancer. Bosses’ solo presentation on this topic (“The Return of Psychedelic Research in America”) is scheduled for Saturday, March 11.
  4. Fabien Cousteau. The first grandson of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Fabien spent his early years aboard the Calypso and Alcyone and learned how to scuba dive on his fourth birthday. His “Racing Climate Change to Cure Neglected Diseases” session on Sunday, March 12 will focus on how scientists are aiming to identify marine-inspired therapeutics from around the globe before these substances are destroyed by warming temperatures.
  5. Karen DeSalvo. The former Acting Assistant Secretary for Health and National Coordinator for Health IT during Obama Administration, DeSalvo is part of the “Health Data: WTF? We’ve Been to the Moon, But…!” on Saturday, March 11.
  6. Jennifer Doudna. Pictured above, Doudna is co-inventor of the revolutionary CRISPR gene-splicing technology. Her keynote speech occurs Saturday, March 11 at 2:00 pm in Ballroom D at the Austin Convention Center.
  7. Jennifer French. A quadriplegic, French is the Co-founder and Executive Director of the non-profit, Neurotech Network. The organization’s focus is to educate and advocate to and for persons with impairments, their caregivers and health care professionals regarding neurotechnology. At SXSW, she speaks on Sunday, March 12 on the “End of Disability? Neurotech’s Future Frontier” panel.
  8. Ericka Hart. This 31-year-old sex educator and performer made headlines by posing topless after her double mastectomy. Connect with her at the “Thriving with Cancer Meet Up” on Sunday, March 12.
  9. Dean Clay Johnston. Recently crowned as 2016 Austinite of the Year by the Austin Chamber of Commerce, Johnston is the inaugural Dean of the Dell Medical School at the University of Texas. On Monday, March 13, he talks “Collaborative Innovation in the Digital Health Age” along with Alex Gorsky (the Chairman and CEO of Johnson & Johnson) and Ginni Rometty (the Chairman, President and CEO of IBM).
  10. Matt Kaeberlein. A Professor of Pathology, Adjunct Professor of Genome Sciences, and Adjunct Professor of Oral Health Sciences at the University of Washington. Dr. Kaeberlein’s research interests are focused on understanding the fundamental mechanisms of aging. He will discuss his expertise on this topic at the “Reimagining Old Age: The Frontier of Aging Biology” panel on Saturday, March 11.
  11. Tatyana Kanzaveli. The founder and CEO of Open Health Network, Kanzaveli was recognized as one of the top 10 Influential Women in Healthcare IT in 2015. She also presented at the first White House Demo Day hosted by the President Obama. She speaks at SXSW on Saturday, March 11 on the “Patient Centric Healthcare: The Future of Health” session.
  12. Karen Nelson. The President of J. Craig Venter Institute, Nelson also leads the Microbiome area for Human Longevity, Inc. She shares her expertise on intestinal fortitude via “Trust Your Gut: Can Biomes Change Science Forever?” on Friday, March 10
  13. Melissa Stockwell. The first female from the Iraq war to loose her limb in active combat, Stockwell is now a fitness instructor in Chicago and a successful motivational speaker sharing her story of perseverance all around the nation. On Friday, March 10, she will speak on the “How Wounded Warriors Are Transforming Biotech” panel at SXSW.
  14. Judy Wang. She is the Executive Director of Hacking Medicine Institute, a non-profit spinoff from MIT that aims to accelerate proof and adoption of effective new medical technologies. Learn from her expertise at the “Real Stories of Success from Health Hackathons” panel on Saturday, March 11.
  15. Mimi Winsberg. The Medical Director at, Winsberg focuses on developing machine-learning solutions to treat behavioral health conditions. Attend her panel “Mind the Machines: Neurotech and AI for Brain Health” on Friday, March 10. For more info on other Artificial Intelligence sessions at this year’s event, click here.

Also, if next generation health innovation is your thing, then be sure to attend the “Health & Wearables” session of the SXSW Accelerator Pitch Event (scheduled Saturday, March 11). There’s also a “Health, Med & BioTech” category within the SXSW Interactive Innovation Awards — learn more about the five companies competing in this category by visiting the Finalist Showcase on Sunday, March 12. Finally, don’t forget to meet the many health-related exhibitors within the SXSW Trade Show, which runs March 12–15 on the first floor of the Austin Convention Center.

Buy your badge now to attend all these incredible SXSW 2017 sessions, showcases, screenings and networking events.

Hugh Forrest tries to write four paragraphs per day on Medium. These posts generally cover technology-related trends. When not attempting to wordsmith or meditating, he serves as Chief Programming Officer at SXSW in Austin.



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Hugh Forrest

Hugh Forrest


Celebrating creativity at SXSW. Also, reading reading reading, the Boston Red Sox, good food, exercise when possible and sleep sleep sleep.