Algharrawi earns UI Research Foundation Inventor Award

Algharrawi earns UI Research Foundation Inventor Award

Khalid Algharrawi, a doctoral candidate in chemical and biochemical engineering at the University of Iowa’s College of Engineering, has received the 2016 University of Iowa Research Foundation Inventor Award for his research project involving the production of 7-methylxanthine from caffeine and theobromine via the metabolic engineering of E. coli.

Currently, methylxanthines, or stimulants, are produced by chemical methods that are complicated, expensive, and harmful to the environment. The process Algharrawi developed uses economical feedstocks such as caffeine and theobromine—a byproduct of the cacao plant—and is less toxic. The intellectual property was recently optioned to V. B. Medicare Private Limited (BioPlus) by the UI Research Foundation.

Algharrawi received a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of Baghdad, in Iraq, in 2005. He served as a lecturer in the chemical engineering department of the University of Baghdad from 2005 to 2010. He is pursuing his doctorate at the UI as part of a scholarship awarded to him by the Iraqi Prime Minister’s Office and Higher Committee of Educational Development (HCED) of Iraq, which aims to help Iraqis advance their education at prestigious universities abroad.