Research Horizons


Alenghat, Gardner Grace the Stage at TEDx CincinnatiWomen Event

Photo of TEDx Cincinnati Women event speakers and performers

Theresa Alenghat, VMD, PhD, Division of Immunobiology, and Aimee Gardner, BS CP, director of Digital Experience Technologies, had the unique opportunity of presenting their very first TED Talk on Oct. 21, 2021. They were two of just nine local women selected for this year’s TEDx CincinnatiWomen event, which took place at the Cincinnati Masonic Theatre.  

With the spotlight shining upon them and no teleprompter or notes in sight, they captivated the live audience with examples of their work and the work of their Cincinnati Children’s collaborators.  

Alenghat and Gardner can now consider themselves among the thousands of other scientists, researchers, technologists, business leaders, artists, designers and other world experts who have taken the TED stage to present valuable new knowledge and innovative research in their fields. No more than 18 minutes in length, TED Talks (the letters stand for technology, entertainment and design) provide a platform for thinkers, visionaries, and teachers so that people can gain a better understanding of the biggest issues facing the world and feed a desire to help create a better future. 

Photo of Theresa Alenghat presenting at TEDx CincinnatiWomen 2021

“It was a privilege to have this opportunity to share our lab’s discoveries and vision with the broader community,” Alenghat says. 

Alenghat reflected on the research of her lab and others, which investigates our body’s relationship with trillions of microorganisms that normally live in our intestine (our microbiome). Her research has revealed new pathways for how our microbiome impacts infection, obesity, and inflammation. 

She shared how bacteria in our gut communicates with our cells and how this relationship can be affected by foods in our diet.  

“This type of research opens new doors to a wide range of potential ways to improve health or combat disease by harnessing the power of the microbiome,” she said in her presentation. 

Read more about Alenghat’s research findings on the microbiome, published in Nature. 
Photo of Aimee Gardner presenting at TEDx CincinnatiWomen 2021

Gardner’s TED Talk described how digital technology is changing pediatric medicine and opened her presentation with a series of questions.  

“What if I told you that simple pictures and medical scans were a thing of the past; that a surgeon could now step into a body through virtual reality, plan the best approach to the surgery and then practice perfecting it; and that kids with chronic pain were learning to walk again with virtual reality therapy?” she said in her presentation. 

Gardner highlighted the talented team of developers, artists, nurses, and physicians within the Cincinnati Children’s Media Lab and Digital Experience Technologies groups. She also shared examples of how animations, virtual reality experiences, and gaming developed by both teams are making our hospital a safer place for kids. 

“What was once thought impossible in pediatric medicine has become possible for our children,” she closed with. “The reality of their outcome has been changed forever.”  

Click on the play buttons below to view the videos from this year’s TEDx CincinnatiWomen event
Videos courtesy of TEDx Talks

Click on the arrows below to view more photos from this year’s TEDx CincinnatiWomen event
Photos courtesy of TEDxCincinnati and photographed by Nicholas Viltrakis