WEP Alumni Lecture Series

The 12th Winter Enrichment Program (WEP) at KAUST under the theme 'Connectivity,' returns virtually this January from 10-21, 2021. Connectivity will be a completely new and exciting WEP experience. Over 450 students will attend WEP virtually from our campus as part of their curriculum at KAUST. Key events addressed by international and in-Kingdom first-string speakers and leaders in their fields will be open live to the KAUST community and beyond.

The WEP Alumni Lecture Series takes place on Thursday January 14, 2021 – 2.30-5.30pm in an exciting new virtual format.

SaNoor Technologies: Bringing Wireless Internet to Underwater and Beyon

By Dr Chao Shen, PhD ’17, MS ‘13, co-founder of SaNoor Technologies. His underwater IoT network technology was awarded the 2019 Nokia Open Innovation Challenge (NOIC) startups talk.  Chao will share the story of KAUST startup SaNoor Technologies. SaNoor Technologies is a KAUST startup commercializing laser optical wireless communication (OWC) devices and systems for high-value next-generation visible light communication (VLC) or LiFi and underwater wireless optical communication (UWOC). SaNoor Technologies is the world-leading innovator of visible laser communication technology for secure, high-speed data communication links in free-space and underwater applications. Their disruptive technologies will complement the existing 5G networks and enable futuristic technologies and applications for 6G and beyond.


Circular Economy of Waste, Food, and Water - Be Part of the Solution with Edama

By Dr Sabrina Vettori, PhD ’17, is the Chief Executive Officer of Edama Organic Solution, a KAUST startup developing cutting-edge organic waste recycling solutions targeted to desert environments.  Sabrina will introduce Edama's solution based on circular economy principles. By recycling waste and transforming it into specialised soil improver products that allow local farmers to grow more food with less water and feed local communities more efficiently, Edama closes the loop on this vital living system. How can the KAUST community be part of the solution? A new composting facility will become operational by 2021 and recycle all the organic waste produced in KAUST. Waste segregation efforts have never been as crucial.


Towards a "fantastic Voyage" Multiferroic Motors for Microsubmarines

By Reem Khojah, PhD ’19 (UCLA), MS ’10 (KAUST), a post-doctoral research fellow at UC Irvine. Programming magnetic fields with microscale control can enable automation at the scale of single cells ~ 10 μm. Most magnetic materials provide a consistent magnetic field over time, but the direction or field strength at the microscale is not easily modulated. However, magnetoelastic materials can undergo voltage induced strain- mediated re-orientation of magnetism (i.e., multiferroic) at the microscale, promising refined control. This work demonstrates the largest single-domain microstructures (20 μm) of Terfenol-D, a material with the highest magnetostrictive strain of any known soft magnetoelastic material. These Terfenol-D microstructures enabled the controlled localization of magnetic beads with sub-micron precision. Magnetically-labeled cells were captured by the field gradients generated from the single-domain microstructures without an external magnetic field. The magnetic state on these microstructures was switched to release individual cells using a multiferroic approach via voltage-induced strain in an adjacent piezoelectric layer. These multiferroic micromagnets pave the way for manufacturing micromotors for submarines, on par with a single cell's size.


Study of Two-Dimensional Atomically-Thin MoS2 Monolayers Via Operando Spectroscopy

By Angel T. Garcia-Esparza, PhD ’16, MS ’11, a Research Associate at Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) at SLAC National Laboratory, Stanford University.

Next-generation two-dimensional materials hold the potential for large-scale implementation of state-of-the-art electronic, optical, and catalytic technology. Monolayer molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) is a promising semiconductor with high electron mobility and a high current on/off ratio. Ultimately, it has the potential to push the dimension limits of transistors and flexible electronics (beyond MMoore'slaw). Therefore, understanding the chemistry of monolayer MoS2 under operation conditions is essential (i.e., operando characterizations). The challenge is: How to study an atomically-thin material with a sub-nanometer thickness (6.5-8 Å)? Here, we present the first operando X-ray spectroscopy of monolayer MoS2 under reactive gas 



By Dr Chao Shen, PhD ’17, MS ‘13

Co-founder of SaNoor Technologies

Dr Sabrina Vettori, PhD ’17

Chief Executive Officer of Edama Organic Solution

By Reem Khojah, MS ’10

Post-doctoral research fellow at Stanford University

Angel T. Garcia-Esparza, PhD ’16, MS ’11

Research Associate at Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource (SSRL) at SLAC National Laboratory, Stanford University

Mayada Alhashem, MS ’17

Engineer in the Saudi Aramco Reservoir Management Department