Live from TED2016 TED Fellows

Meet the 2016 class of TED Fellows and Senior Fellows

TEDFellows 2016

We are thrilled to announce the new class of Fellows for TED2016. These 21 world-changers work at the very forefront of their fields and represent 12 countries around the world – including, for the first time in the program, Kyrgyzstan. This group includes a Hawaiian geneticist focused on establishing ethnic diversity in genome studies; an Iranian photographer capturing often undocumented youth culture in the Middle East; an Italian biomedical entrepreneur creating a revolutionary device to beat pancreatic cancer; a Ghanaian-American producer who created a viral web series hailed as Africa’s “Sex and the City;” a Canadian biohacker using low-cost, open source materials to grow human tissue and many more!

Below, meet the new group of Fellows who will join us at TED2016, February 15-19 in Vancouver.

Nicole Amarteifio headshot
Nicole Amarteifio (Ghana + USA)
TV director / producer
Ghanaian-American creator, writer and director of “An African City,” a hit web series that follows five successful women from Ghana navigating 21st century life in Accra.

Samuel Bazawule headshot
Samuel ‘Blitz the Ambassador’ Bazawule (Ghana)
Musician + filmmaker
Ghanaian artist using music and film to explore magical realism and how it influences modern African identity and aesthetic, globally.

Sanford Biggers headshot
Sanford Biggers (USA)
Interdisciplinary artist
Visual artist creating multimedia and musical performances which upend traditional narratives about far-ranging topics from hip hop to Buddhism to American history.

Sanford Biggers

Sanford Biggers, “Everyday a Sunset Dies” (LKG), 2014, 78h x 78w in. Antique quilts, assorted fabrics, fabric treated acrylic, spray paint. Photo: Sanford Biggers

Prosanta Chakrabarty headshot
Prosanta Chakrabarty (USA)
Evolutionary biologist and natural historian researching and discovering fish around the world in an effort to understand fundamental aspects of biological diversity.

Keolu Fox headshot
Keolu Fox (USA)
Geneticist + indigenous rights activist
Hawaiian geneticist exploring the links between human genetic variation and disease in underrepresented populations with the goal of eliminating health disparities.

Kiana Hayeri headshot
Kiana Hayeri (Iran + Canada)
Iranian-Canadian photographer exploring complex topics such as youth culture, migration and sexuality in Iran and Afghanistan, highlighting an often hidden side of life in the Middle East.

Laura Indolfi headshot
Laura Indolfi (Italy + USA)
Biomedical entrepreneur
Biomedical innovator revolutionizing cancer treatments with new technologies — including implantable devices for delivering drugs locally at the site of a tumor.

Bektour Iskender headshot
Bektour Iskender (Kyrgyzstan)
Independent news publisher
Co-founder of Kloop Media, an NGO and leading news publication in Kyrgyzstan, committed to freedom of speech and training young journalists to cover politics and culture.

Artist's concept of NASA's NEOWISE spacecraft

Azat Ruziev was one of the youngest students Kloop Journalism School ever had — he was just 14 when he started attending classes and publishing his first stories. He’s 18 today, and after covering politics for three years, he’s challenging himself in more complicated and longer formats including feature stories and mini-documentaries. Photo: Anna Lelik, Kloop Media

Mitchell Jackson headshot
Mitchell Jackson (USA)
Writer + filmmaker
Writer exploring black masculinity, the criminal justice system and family relationships in fiction, essays and documentary film. He published his debut novel The Residue Years in 2013 to critical acclaim.

Jessica Ladd headshot
Jessica Ladd (USA)
Sexual health technologist
Founder and CEO of Sexual Health Innovations, a nonprofit dedicated to creating technology to advance sexual health in the U.S. Her most recent initiative, Callisto, provides a platform for college students to confidentially report sexual assault.

Majala Mlagui headshot
Majala Mlagui (Kenya)
Gemologist + mining entrepreneur
Kenyan founder of Thamani Gems, which works with artisanal and small-scale gemstone miners in East Africa to create sustainable livelihoods through responsible mining, ethical sourcing and access to fair trade markets.

Helene Morlon headshot
Hélène Morlon (France)
Biodiversity mathematician
French researcher using mathematics and computer codes to understand the history of life and evolution on our planet and examine the factors that affect rates of speciation, extinction and trait evolution.

Amanda Nguyen headshot
Amanda Nguyen (USA)
Founder and president of Rise, a national nonprofit working with multiple state legislatures and the U.S. Congress to implement a Sexual Assault Survivor Bill of Rights.

Carrie Nugent headshot
Carrie Nugent (USA)
Asteroid hunter
Astronomer using NASA’s NEOWISE spacecraft to discover and study near-Earth asteroids, our smallest and most numerous cosmic neighbors.

Artist's concept of NASA's NEOWISE spacecraft

Artist’s concept of NASA’s NEOWISE spacecraft. NEOWISE is an infrared telescope that orbits Earth, and Carrie Nugent works on the team that has used it to observe 128,000 asteroids and comets. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Nikhil Pahwa headshot
Nikhil Pahwa (India)
Digital rights advocate
Indian journalist and free speech and digital rights advocate, who co-founded the coalition, which galvanized the support of over a million Indian citizens for net neutrality.

Andrew Pelling headshot
Andrew Pelling (Canada)
Scientist + biohacker
Canadian scientist disrupting traditional approaches by using low-cost, open source materials — like apples and LEGOs — for next generation medical innovations.

Madeline Sayet headshot
Madeline Sayet (USA)
Theater director + playwright
Director and playwright who explores cultural intersections through original theater productions — from Shakespeare reinterpretations to absurdist comedy — in an effort to highlight indigenous perspectives.

Sam Stranks headshot
Sam Stranks (UK + Australia)
Solar energy researcher
Experimental physicist studying how light interacts with solar materials, pioneering discoveries in the field of low-cost, efficient solar cells made from a revolutionary material called hybrid perovskites.

Trevor Timm headshot
Trevor Timm (USA)
Free speech advocate
Co-founder and executive director of Freedom of the Press Foundation, a non-profit organization that supports and defends journalism dedicated to transparency and accountability.

Michael Twitty headshot
Michael Twitty (USA)
Culinary historian
Culinary historian, blogger and chef who uses food to ignite a conversation about cultural appropriation, African identity and American racial history.

Prof. Dr. Vanessa Wood, ETHZ in ihrem Labor an der Gloriastrasse. Bild Tom Kawara fuer ETH Globe Zuerich 12.7.2011. Copyright und
Vanessa Wood (Switzerland + USA)
Electrical engineer
Electrical engineer using nanomaterials to revolutionize energy systems — from solar cells to batteries.

We’re also excited to share our new class of Senior Fellows for TED2016. We honor our Senior Fellows with an additional two years of engagement in the TED community, offering continued support to their work while they in turn give back and mentor new Fellows and enrich the community as a whole. They embody the values of the TED Fellows program.


Stormtrooper: A portrait of a 12-year-old boy who hides his aspirations to be a ballet dancer from his friends. Photo: Uldus Bakhtiozina

Uldus Bakhtiozina. TED 2014, The Next Chapter, March 17 - 21, 2014, Vancouver Conference Center, Vancouver, Canada. Photo by: Bret Hartman
Uldus Bakhtiozina (Russia)
Photographer + visual artist
Russian art photographer whose elaborately staged, costumed, surreal portraits are dedicated to Russian folklore, explore ancient pagan archetypes, femininity and magic, often subverting Russian cultural stereotypes.

Benedetta Berti (Israel + Italy)
Conflict and security researcher + author
Policy consultant studying armed groups and internal conflicts, analyzing the impact of insecurity on civilians and working to build more peaceful communities.

Steve Boyes headshot
Steve Boyes (South Africa)
Conservation biologist
South African conservation biologist who explores and studies remote wildernesses in Africa to protect and restore them.

Kitra Cahana headshot
Kitra Cahana (USA)
Documentary filmmaker + photographer
Canadian documentary filmmaker and photographer who embeds herself in communities, often for months at a time, creating in-depth portrayals of her subjects.

Ryan Holladay. Photo: Ryan Lash
Ryan Holladay (USA)
Musical artist
In collaboration with his younger brother, Ryan combines music and technology to create site-specific sound installations, interactive concerts and GPS-based compositions for sites around the world.

Ryan Holladay

Ryan Holladay and his brother, Hays, perform at the Sweetlife Festival wearing masks of one another’s faces, designed by Kashuo Bennett. Photo: Margot MacDonald

Gastromotiva_Davi_Angelo Dal Bó_032
David Hertz (Brazil)
Chef + social entrepreneur
Brazilian Chef and founder of Gastromotiva, which utilizes the transformative power of food and gastronomy to foster inclusive growth and social integration in Latin America.

Michele Koppes headshot
Michele Koppes (USA)
Glaciologist, geomorphologist and science communicator investigating the way glaciers and landscapes are responding to rapid climate change.

Jimmy Lin headshot
Jimmy Lin (USA)
Geneticist pioneering early cancer detection techniques and founder of the Rare Genomics Institute, which helps patients crowdsource funds and genomes to accelerate research of their rare genetic diseases.

Joshua Roman headshot
Joshua Roman (USA)
Internationally recognized cellist and composer, frequently collaborating with genre-spanning musicians and creating original compositions for new audiences.

Bahia Shehab headshot
Bahia Shehab (Egypt + Lebanon)
Artist + creative director + Islamic art historian
Lebanese-Egyptian artist, designer and Islamic art historian studying ancient Arabic script and visual culture to solve modern-day issues.