Class of 2022

Asrar Damdam

Science Innovators

29 / Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

The Saudi scientist extending fresh goods' shelf life with cutting-edge tech

Armed with a PhD in electrical and computer engineering, Saudi Arabian scientist and researcher Asrar Damdam set out for Silicon Valley with an ambitious goal: to halve global food waste by 2030. With her latest invention Uvera, it’s a big first step in achieving this target. Asrar’s biotech startup specialises in containers that prolong the shelf-life of fresh food by destroying harmful bacteria with ultraviolet light and can extend ingredients’ shelf life exponentially.

Where most use refrigeration, Asrar applies UV-C light. Her sleek storage units produce a wave that can be directed at fruit and vegetables to keep them fresher for longer and thus allows them to be transported greater distances, without the need for environmentally and fiscally costly storage solutions. While avoiding the undesirable effects of treating food with heat, the ultraviolet light spectrum is chemical free and can reduce the growth of common viruses, such as Covid-19, salmonella and E. coli.

With this invention and a suite of sophisticated storage solutions in the pipeline, Asrar’s ground-breaking research and development is helping to bring the world one step closer to environmental sustainability and widespread food security for all.

“The philosophy that guides my work is ‘fail fast, fail often’. To succeed, we must be open to failures, and we should embrace and learn from them.” – Asrar Damdam
Asrar Damdam
  • “Anyone who can harness the power of the universe to reduce food waste is impressive, but Asrar has found a way to reduce our food waste that doesn’t reduce the pleasure that comes from eating and sharing food with others. We all need to find ways to improve our relationship with food and ultimately with ourselves, and this kind of tech is going to be so important to both households and restaurants in the coming years. I am excited to see how far Asrar can take her ideas.”
  • Heston Blumenthal

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