TEDxDayton 2020 gave two Wright State University faculty members a huge megaphone, enabling them to amplify and sharpen their messages about opioid addiction and about engineering and touch new audiences.
Subhashini Ganapathy, chair of biomedical, industrial and human factors engineering, and Christopher Wyatt, associate chair of neuroscience, cell biology and physiology, were among the speakers during the virtual program that was live-streamed in November.
Wyatt called it a terrific experience. He said that his lecture on opioid addiction, which normally only 15 graduate students a year might see, received 1,000 views in its first week on YouTube.
“I was especially excited to give a TED talk because it forced me to take a graduate-level lecture on receptor pharmacology and make it accessible to people like my mother and my neighbor,” said Wyatt.
Wyatt said opioid addiction is a massive problem in the United States and he felt that explaining why the drugs are addictive in simple terms was incredibly important. He hopes that his talk helps people understand what causes opioid addiction and why addicts need compassion and help.
“I also wanted people to understand that opioids are important medication and that they can help people living with terrible pain live relatively normal lives,” he said. “I embedded a lot of information into an 11-minute talk, and working with the TEDxDayton organizers helped make it coherent and logical.”
TEDxDayton spreads ideas and perspectives to spark conversation and connections in the community. The event uses TED’s celebrated format of short, carefully prepared talks, demonstrations and performances designed to foster learning and inspiration.
In her TEDxDayton presentation, Ganapathy talked about how industrial and systems engineering (ISE) is an exciting and fun area in engineering and how ISEs make a difference in everyday life.
“Even though the idea that it reaches wider audience is true, the impact of how you can share an idea that could be transformational is huge,” said Ganapathy. “I have had several folks who am I not even professionally connected to reach out to me about how their child is confused about what program to do and this is very helpful for them.”
Ganapathy earned her bachelor’s degree in instrumentation and control engineering from Madras University in India, her master’s in human factors and industrial engineering and her Ph.D. in humans in complex systems, both from Wright State.
Her research areas include integrating technology for improving human performance, health and wellness, design thinking, user-experience assessment and human factors engineering. She directs Wright State’s Interaction Design and Modeling Lab, which explores human-computer interaction and seeks to understand how technology can help enable healthier and more socially connected and reflective living.
Wyatt is originally from Manchester, England. He earned his bachelor’s degree in pharmacology from the University of Bath and his Ph.D. in neuropharmacology from the University of Leeds.
For the past 30 years, Wyatt has researched the neuronal control of breathing with particular interest in how disease states and medicines alter breathing. His research focuses on the critical role of specialized oxygen-sensing organs called the carotid bodies.