Find A Speaker or Advisor
Share this speaker on:
Emerging Technology / Founders & Practitioners / Futurists / Health Care & Medicine / Neuroscience / Innovation & Design / TED Speakers / Inspirational Speakers / Women Speakers & Advisors


  • Revolutionizing Neurodiagnostics & Therapeutics Using Silicon. Mary Lou Jepsen, Openwater Founder.
    Revolutionizing Neurodiagnostics & Therapeutics Using Silicon. Mary Lou Jepsen, Openwater Founder.
  • Mary Lou Jepsen - Revolutionizing Medical Imaging & Brain-Computer Comm. w/ Consumer Electronics
    Mary Lou Jepsen - Revolutionizing Medical Imaging & Brain-Computer Comm. w/ Consumer Electronics
  • News in Neuroscience (Mary Lou Jepsen, Howard Morgan) | DLD 23
    News in Neuroscience (Mary Lou Jepsen, Howard Morgan) | DLD 23
  • Telepathy Meets Medical Imaging — SXSW 2017
    Telepathy Meets Medical Imaging — SXSW 2017
  • Mary Lou Jepsen, Inventor, Entrepreneur | MAKERS
    Mary Lou Jepsen, Inventor, Entrepreneur | MAKERS
  • A Chat with Dr. Mary Lou Jepsen.
    A Chat with Dr. Mary Lou Jepsen.
  • CHM Live | From Screen Queen to Imaging Innovator
    CHM Live | From Screen Queen to Imaging Innovator
  • Mary Lou Jepsen on imaging the mind's eye
    Mary Lou Jepsen on imaging the mind's eye
  • Things That Will Blow Your Mind
    Things That Will Blow Your Mind
  • Mary Lou Jepsen on wrist-worn optoelectronics - ApplySci @ Stanford
    Mary Lou Jepsen on wrist-worn optoelectronics - ApplySci @ Stanford
  • My First Line of Code: Mary Lou Jepsen
    My First Line of Code: Mary Lou Jepsen
  • Samsung CEO Summit 2016 - The Science of Visible Thoughts and Our Translucent Selves by Mary Lou Jepsen
    Samsung CEO Summit 2016 - The Science of Visible Thoughts and Our Translucent Selves by Mary Lou Jepsen

Learn More About Mary Lou Jepsen

Despite humanity’s exceptional technological achievements, cancer, strokes, Alzheimer’s disease and depression are still some of the most challenging health conditions we face. It takes a special kind of mindset to look at these problems and feel inspired to use new techniques to solve them. Mary Lou Jepsen, Ph.D. – technology pioneer, inventor, physicist, artist, and serial innovator – is pioneering the use of emerging and converging technologies to build devices that, once implemented, promise to change the world.

Jepsen’s solutions – using infrared light, ultrasound and electromagnetics to leapfrog the capabilities of drugs – are gaining ground with strong clinical evidence and cost structures that could enable treatment for all, transcending borders and income levels. Ultrasound treatments for brain tumors and $100 computers for children in developing countries bring once-large scale devices down to a handheld size that’s reasonable for small clinics and home users. As she explains in her standout TED Talk, Jepsen’s inventions promise to make health care, education and the future accessible and inclusive to more people than ever before.

A former professor at MIT Media Lab and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia before becoming a leading technical executive with Facebook, Google and Intel, Jepsen uses her technological know-how, passionate determination, and shrewd entrepreneurial instinct to drive progress forward and build a better future where no challenge is insurmountable. As the founder, CEO and Chairman of Openwater, she develops groundbreaking imaging technologies that will both diagnose and treat cancers, mental diseases and cardio vascular diseases, as well as 90% of what kills us – reducing health care costs and saving countless lives. Jepsen, also director at two public companies, Lear Corporation and Luminar Technologies, who has been named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world and a CNN Top 10 thinker, makes the seemingly impossible a reality with a framework for innovation that leverages and unleashes the creative engine within an organization.

“The main reason for rising health care costs for new therapies is the increasing cost of clinical trials for drugs, and for the device for novel therapeutic medical devices. I’m working to lower the cost of all of this with a platform approach which enables us to ride Moore’s law to new places,” says Jepsen, who was named to the Forbes 50 Over 50 list in the Entrepreneurs category in 2022. “The tools of our time are ready for this now, and it can reduce the development time and costs of new therapies by 10x or more – starting now.”

Jepsen’s fascination with body and brain imaging began over two decades ago as a graduate student. As she faced death at the hands of an unknown disease, a generous professor funded an expensive MRI scan. A brain tumor was found and removed, and she recovered to become a brilliant scientist and inventor with over 250 patents and 50 game-changing products to her name. After founding her own companies and scaling them by partnering with some of the biggest names in tech, she finally felt comfortable using her innovation process to advance the health care industry.

“I love virtual reality (VR) and I did a lot of great things in this space for decades. About five or six years ago, all of this talent was going into VR and augmented reality (AR) and I thought, ‘Great, they’re going to do it and make it great. It’s going to happen now.’ But what was being missed was too large for me to let go of,” says Jepsen. “I didn’t think anybody saw that diagnostics and therapeutics in health care could be transformed by the advancements in next-generation silicon components for high fidelity VR, AR and LiDAR products.”

The medical devices in the testing phase at Openwater leverage both the body’s existing qualities and the latest in imaging and therapeutic technology to accomplish tasks that were previously unimaginable. Profoundly brilliant, Jepsen is also a skilled communicator who illustrates how her team tackles complex neurological topics with accessible metaphors, leaving audiences feeling energized and ready to take on the world. Even a complicated problem, like removing an inoperable brain tumor, sounds almost easy to solve when Jepsen expresses how her invention uses “harmonic resonance, like an opera singer and a wine glass” to address it.

“I never stopped dreaming of how to create wearables to communicate with our thoughts and to see inside our bodies at consumer electronics pricing,” she recalls. “I want to get this technology to every doctor in the world.”

Jepsen’s contagiously unstoppable attitude invigorates audiences, leaving them with a lasting motivation to take on the biggest “moonshots” available to them. Her unparalleled experience in tackling some of humanity’s greatest challenges with cutting-edge technology in a startup culture not only inspires but also changes the mindset of anyone who hears her speak. Audiences are empowered to approach obstacles with renewed vigor and creativity. Her reverberating message reminds audiences that we can do anything – even taking on the world’s toughest medical conditions.

# # #

Dr. Mary Lou Jepsen is the founder, CEO and Chairman of Openwater, which seeks to create a silicon hospital in a smart phone sized device to treat cancer, mental disease, cardiovascular disease and beyond. Jepsen has worked in many capacities for Google, Intel and Facebook, and in 2005, she co-founded and was the chief technology officer for One Laptop Per Child, a non-profit organization that developed technology to make laptops affordable for children in developing countries. She architected the $100 laptop which became the fastest growing consumer electronics category ever recorded, creating a not-for-profit with multi-billion dollar revenue that created $30B for its for-profit partners, and most importantly transformed educational opportunities for children in low- and middle-income countries.

After this venture, she founded Pixel Qi Corp, which was the world’s only fabless display developer and a spin-off of One Laptop Per Child. In 2012, she became a Director and Head of Display Division at Google, and in 2015, became Executive Director of Engineering for Facebook and Oculus. She founded Openwater in 2016.

For her work, Jepsen has received a wide range of awards. She won the IF Product Design Award, the Horace Mann Medal, Mobile Innovation Award, INDEX Design Award, Best of Computex Award, Display of the Year Award, Anita Borg “Woman of Vision” Award for Innovation, three Popular Science “Best of What’s New Awards,” IEEE ACE Award Grand Prize, World Technology Award and the NBA/Cisco Inspiring the Future Award. She is a member of the WITI Hall of Fame, an OSA Fellow, and has been named on several lists including CNN’s top 10 thinkers, Forbes Top 50 Women in Technology, TIME’s 100 Most Influential People, and the top 50 Female Computer Scientists of all time. She also received the 2011 OSA Edwin H. Land Medal.

Jepsen holds a Ph.D. in Optical Physics from Brown University, Honorary Doctorates from Brown University and Athabasca University and an Sc.M. in Media Technology from MIT.

Mary Lou Jepsen is available to advise your organization via virtual and in-person consulting meetings, interactive workshops and customized keynotes through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers & Advisors, a division of Stern Strategy Group®.

Mary Lou Jepsen was last modified: March 22nd, 2024 by Whitney Jennings

Read More Read Less

Embracing the Future: How New Technologies Are Leading Us Toward a Brighter Tomorrow

In the not-too-distant future, the world will be defined by the intersection of new and converging technologies. From quantum computing to the metaverse, from regenerative artificial intelligence to augmented and virtual reality, the possibilities are endless. Tech pioneer, serial innovator and futurist Mary Lou Jepsen well understands that as humanity stands on the brink of a technological upheaval, it’s up to businesses to embrace these changes and use them to build a better, brighter tomorrow. A former tech executive who has led startup incubators at Facebook, Google and Intel, in addition to founding four startups of her own, Jepsen has a unique perspective drawn from a history of academia and entrepreneurship. Her experience as a businesswoman lends her authority as she updates leaders and teams on the latest developments in tech that hold the key to unlocking a future that’s more connected, more efficient and more exciting than ever before. Contagiously optimistic and unendingly curious, Jepsen invites audiences to consider what a future enabled by these technologies means for businesses and society at large.

Wearable Wonders Bringing Hope to the Toughest Medical Challenges

Medical conditions like cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, strokes and depression have had catastrophic effects on individuals and families for hundreds of years. Imaging pioneer, physicis, inventor and serial innovator Mary Lou Jepsen is applying her skills as a leading tech expert and entrepreneur to create wearable solutions that can potentially alleviate these conditions – or even stop them in their tracks. A former MIT professor and tech executive who incubated startups at Facebook, Google and Intel, Jepsen founded her company Openwater to bring cutting-edge imaging technology together with the latest advancements in neuroscience to create wearable devices that will change our lives. Down to earth, clear and relatable, Jepsen welcomes audiences to share her excitement as she explains how she works with her team to develop visors that could detect strokes before they cause irreparable harm, ultrasound devices to cure inoperable brain tumors, resonant treatments for depression and other incredible innovations. Named the Forbes 50 Over 50 list in the Entrepreneurs category in 2022 and one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world, Jepsen’s infectious enthusiasm and inspiring story of how she’s taking on the world’s biggest challenges proves to be an unforgettable combination.

The Innovation Mindset: Unleashing Your Company's Creative Engine

Innovation is a critical component for companies looking to remain competitive in today’s fast-paced business landscape. But how can businesses successfully innovate without risking their employees’ jobs or wasting valuable resources? As a serial innovator who has founded four startups and incubated even more in the halls of tech giants Facebook, Google and Intel, Mary Lou Jepsen understands how to leverage the creative engine in an organization to unleash a world-changing mindset. A former MIT professor who was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world and a CNN Top 10 thinker, Jepsen brings practical advice on choosing profitable projects, failing successfully and successfully commercializing groundbreaking ideas. A gifted storyteller, Jepsen relates tales from her time at the MIT Media Lab and at her current startup, Openwater, to illustrate how to leverage thoughts and critique from the entire world to move quickly. Profoundly brilliant, yet down-to-earth and highly relatable, Jepsen’s blueprint for winning at innovation breathes fresh life into any organization, creating lasting energy and positive change.

Let There Be Light: The Future of Medical Imaging

MRI technology is both expensive and potentially harmful. What if a completely safe (as well as cheap) method of seeing deep inside our bodies and brains could be devised? Mary Lou Jepsen has been working to improve medical imaging since her life was saved when she was young, by a scan that detected a deadly tumor. Having only survived because a generous professor agreed to pay for the scan, Jepsen seeks to make imaging widely available and affordable to people throughout the world. Jepsen has developed methods of using light to view inside the human body and brain, even through bone. In this presentation based on her groundbreaking TED Talk, Jepsen demonstrates to audiences how she utilizes the body’s natural translucence to use only light in accomplishing what once took a large, expensive and potentially harmful machine. She also reveals the opportunities for health care manufacturers to dramatically expand the market for medical imaging.

How to Read Minds and Influence People: The Arrival of Telepathic Tech

Telepathy was once the preserve of science fiction. Thanks to Mary Lou Jepsen, the ability to read minds could be the function of a common wearable device within the next several years. An engineer and physicist, Jepsen leverages methods of capturing and interpreting brain signals previously used with fMRI. Using machine learning and big data analysis reconstructed images are remarkably similar to the real-world objects and scenes that subjects think about. With neuroscience having proven that images, words and emotions can really be extracted from the brain, Jepsen is now perfecting a wearable device in the form of a hat – a “thinking cap” – that allows people to show others what is on their minds in daily interactions. In this presentation, Jepsen discusses her technology, its potential impact on the world and how we can successfully bring it to fruition without allowing it to go too far. In particular, she delves into the ethical implications of mind-reading technology and how consideration of privacy rights needs to be at the forefront of development.