Class of 2022
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