Inspirational and controversial neurosurgeon and UNSW Conjoint Associate Professor Dr Charlie Teo will be one of the speakers at TEDx Sydney next month.

A pioneer in keyhole minimally invasive techniques, Dr Teo founded the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation (formerly the Cure for Life Foundation) in 2003.

The Foundation, which supports the neuro-oncology wing of the UNSW Lowy Cancer Centre, has been the largest funder of brain cancer research in Australia for the last 10 years.

As passionate about teaching as performing surgery, Dr Teo has received ‘best teacher’ awards in both the USA and Australia. He devotes three months of every year instructing and doing live surgery pro bono in developing countries.

In 2013, he was the first non-politician Australian to address the US Congress on the need for more funding for brain cancer research. Dr Teo also supports the rights of girls and young women in impoverished countries through various charities including the Teo Family Foundation.

Husband and father to four girls, Dr Teo tells TEDx Sydney his family is his greatest achievement.

“My patients continue to be my main inspiration and maintaining hope is fundamental to my work, Dr Teo says.

TEDx Sydney is an annual festival of ideas and will be held at the Sydney Opera House on 21 May. Sixteen extraordinary Australians will take to the stage to share their stories and spread new ideas and thinking to the world.