Emirati student wins Dubai innovation competition with scar-healing invention

An Emirati student who was inspired by the suffering of a friend has developed a new technology that speeds up the scar healing process.

Reem Al Dhaheri, a chemical engineering student at the Canadian University Dubai, won the Falling Walls Lab Dubai competition, for her new approach, which was described as a “breakthrough”.

“I was surprised to find that despite phenomenal advances in healthcare, the approach of treating hypertrophic scars has not changed in the last 30 years. This is something that can affect anyone at any time so I felt it was an important area to explore,” said Ms Al Dhaheri.

A hypertrophic scar is slightly raised and caused by an excess of collagen in the skin. It can result from surgery, burns or even an insect bite.

Her innovative healing method uses nanotechnology — silicon gel sheets are impregnated with silicone nanocrystals. These sheets can be applied to the scar site making it possible to decrease the size of a scar.

“I hope this is a technique that we can go on to develop fully to be of great benefit to people all over the world,” she said.


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Ms Al Dhaheri’s innovation was selected from over 30 projects from across the region, with ideas on how to tackle global concerns, such as cybersecurity, energy conservation and alleviating poverty.

Second place in the challenge went to Sethi Sarthak, a student who has invented a smart control device for disabled people.

Ms Al Dhaheri will demonstrate her winning project to an audience of over 600 world-class experts, including delegates from institutions such as Harvard and MIT, in Berlin on November 8.

Dubai was among 50 international destination chosen to host the Falling Walls Lab this year, a global innovation challenge that aims to nurture talent.