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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 October 2018

Emirati student wins Dubai innovation competition with scar-healing invention 

She will now present her method to over 600 world-class experts in Berlin

Reem Al Dhaheri, who won the Falling Walls Lab Dubai challenge. Courtesy: Falling Walls Lab Dubai
Reem Al Dhaheri, who won the Falling Walls Lab Dubai challenge. Courtesy: Falling Walls Lab Dubai

An Emirati student has won an award after developing technology that speeds up scar healing.

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

“I was surprised to find that despite phenomenal advances in health care, the approach of treating hypertrophic scars has not changed in the last 30 years,” Ms Al Dhaheri said.

“This is something that can affect anyone at any time so I felt it was an important area to explore.”

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.

Ms Al Dhaheri’s innovative method uses nanotechnology, with silicon gel sheets and silicone nanocrystals. The sheets are applied to the 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 more than 30 projects from across the region, including ideas on how to tackle global concerns such as cyber security, energy conservation and alleviating poverty.

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

Ms Al Dhaheri will demonstrate her winning project to an audience of more than 600 world-class experts, including delegates from universities such as Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in Berlin on November 8.

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