10 TED Talks Everyone in Pharma Should Watch in 2019

Traditionally, most of the new information and education we receive in the Life Sciences is found in  pharmaceutical journals, at conferences and in event workshops, and other industry publications. However, there's another channel of information that's got the Montrium team hooked as we look to improve on our skills, learn new approaches, get inspired and discover new ideas - and that's TED Talks.

TED Talks are non-profit conferences where top minds present ideas on innovation, emerging trends and big ideas in their respective fields. Originally formed as a platform to discuss topics surrounding technology, entertainment and design (hence why they're aptly named TED talks), the series of presentations has now expanded to a much wider range of topics encompassing the human experience where speakers give their talk in 18 minutes or less.

If you've never watched a TED Talk before, below are is a fantastic introduction to the quality of their platform as well as an opportunity to grasp some new concepts and ideas in the world of Pharmaceuticals and Clinical Research.

Even if you're an avid TED Talk'er like we are, there are some absolute gems listed below that we found to be the best of the lot. See below for some of our top picks this year.

1. Could Tissue Engineering Mean Personalized Medicine?

 TED Talk by Nina Tandon (6:19 min)

Tissue Engineer, Nina Tandon discusses how each of our bodies is utterly unique, which is a lovely thought until it comes to treating an illness - when every body reacts differently, often unpredictably, to standard treatment. Nina Tandon talks about a possible solution: Using pluripotent stem cells to make personalized models of organs on which to test new drugs and treatments, and storing them on computer chips.


2. We Need Better Drugs - Now

TED Talk by Francis Collins (14:40 min)

We know the molecular cause of 4,000 diseases, but treatments are available for only 250 of them. So what's taking so long? Geneticist and physician Francis Collins explains why systematic drug discovery is imperative, even for rare and complex diseases, and offers a few solutions -- like teaching old drugs new tricks.


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3. External Innovation Basics from an R&D expert

TED Talk by Michael Ringel (9:44 min)

The bad news: the best ideas live outside of your organization. The good news: they don’t have to stay there. Innovation instigator Michael Ringel has consulted for major corporations about the best ways to bring innovation into their companies and has a collaborative solution that any company -- if done the right way -- can tap into: external innovation.


4. Defining and Defeating the Opioid Crisis

TED Talk by Manal Fakhoury (13:30 min)

The opioid epidemic has been called the worst drug crisis in American history. How did we get here and what is the solution? From research, we understand addiction is a disease. It is also, for some individuals and companies, a business. Did we in the pharmaceutical industry manufacture this epidemic by misleading the public that opiates are safe and effective? As a pharmacist and mentor for prisoners, Fakhoury will offer her unique perspective on the opioid epidemic.


5. What You Need to Know About your Genes and Prescription Medicine

TED Talk by Tuesdy Horner (9:07 min)

Pharmacogenomic testing is used to predict how a patient will metabolize, or breakdown, medications based on their unique genetic profile. The goal is to save time and money, reduce side effects, and decrease visits to the doctor’s office. As it becomes more accessible, it’s clear that the future of prescription medicine is in pharmacogenomic testing. Dr. Tuesdy Horner, a licensed pharmacist clinician and residency-trained Doctor of Pharmacy, believes less medication is best.



6.  Could a Drug Prevent Depression and PTSD?

TED Talk by Kate Ragan Rebecca Brachman (18:18 min)

 The path to better medicine is paved with accidental yet revolutionary discoveries. In this well-told tale of how science happens, neuroscientist Rebecca Brachman shares news of a serendipitous breakthrough treatment that may prevent mental disorders like depression and PTSD.


7. Why Genetic Research Must Be More Diverse

TED Talk by Keolu Fox (6:48 min)

Ninety-six percent of genome studies are based on people of European descent. The rest of the world is virtually unrepresented — and this is dangerous, says geneticist and TED Fellow Keolu Fox, because we react to drugs differently based on our genetic makeup. Fox is working to democratize genome sequencing, specifically by advocating for indigenous populations to get involved in research, with the goal of eliminating health disparities. "The research community needs to immerse itself in indigenous culture," he says, "or die trying."


8. Soon We'll Cure Diseases with a Cell, Not a Pill

 TED Talk by Siddhartha Mukherjee (17:35 min)

Current medical treatment boils down to six words: Have disease, take pill, kill something. But physician Siddhartha Mukherjee points to a future of medicine that will transform the way we heal.



9. A Bold New Way to Fund Drug Research

 TED Talk by Roger Stein (11:05 min)

Believe it or not, about 20 years' worth of potentially life-saving drugs are sitting in labs right now, untested. Why? Because they can't get the funding to go to trials; the financial risk is too high. Roger Stein is a finance guy, and he thinks deeply about mitigating risk. He and some colleagues at MIT came up with a promising new financial model that could move hundreds of drugs into the testing pipeline.



10. Battling Bad Science

TED Talk by Ben Goldacre (14:12 min)

Every day there are news reports of new health advice, but how can you know if they're right? Doctor and epidemiologist Ben Goldacre shows us, at high speed, the ways evidence can be distorted, from the blindingly obvious nutrition claims to the very subtle tricks of the pharmaceutical industry.



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If there's a TED Talk that you've watched that you think would be perfectly at home in this list, shoot us the link in the comments section. We're always looking for great content we can share with our team and our readers. We hope you enjoyed the TED Talks, let us know your favorite in the comments sections!

About the Author: Oliver Pearce

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