Durham Magazine April / May 2022

Page 70


ARSHEEN ALLAM CEO & Founder, GOLeafe grew up feeling a sense of responsibility to the world around her. The middle of three sisters, she was born in Canada to parents Iffat Allam and Abdul Allam, who hail from Pakistan and India, respectively. The family moved to North Carolina when Arsheen was 8, and that journey of identity instilled a global perspective and desire to help others. “My parents exposed my sisters [SiNON Therapeutics Founder and CEO Afreen Allam, and U.S. congressional candidate and Durham


rsheen Allam

County Commissioner Nida Allam]

and I to many world views growing up,” Arsheen says. “That has been pivotal in the work we each do and why we do it.” Arsheen founded her company, GOLeafe, in 2017 while completing her master’s at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Her goal? To create a more affordable way to produce graphene – a clean, carbon-based material with a range of uses in energy, cancer treatments, medical testing and more. Scientists have recently discovered that graphene can also be a powerful superconductor, which could lead to advances in fields including efficient energy and quantum computation. Today, her research is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Chain Reactions Innovations program at the Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago. “I love seeing science and 68




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chemistry at work,” Arsheen says. “I enjoy being around brilliant minds in the industry, discussing problems and pain points and working together to find solutions to make more efficient products.” In her five years as CEO, Arsheen has developed a morning routine that she relies on, beginning with a prayer, followed by a workout, writing a to-do list and connecting with her research team. “I then head into the lab at Argonne and work on the optimization of GOLeafe’s proprietary graphene production process from waste materials,” she says. “The goal during my time at Argonne is to streamline the production process and automate it, to increase efficiency and reproducibility as we move into commercialization of the product.” Arsheen shares her passion for sustainability with her husband, Zain Shauk. The two were married on New Year’s Day 2022 at the