Arul Nigam, Managing Director of FoodAllergyLowdown and Co-Founder of AllergySmartz
Arul Nigam is a 17-year-old with a passion to shape the public perception on food allergies. Having watched his older sister, Shirali, face challenges with food allergies, he is passionate about helping the allergy community. As researchers work towards a cure, Arul feels that it is imperative to work to foster a safe and inclusive environment for people with food allergies. In his role as Managing Director of FoodAllergyLowdown, Arul creates content for and runs this website and works on improving outreach by strategizing based on global viewership analytics. As co-developer of AllergySmartz, Arul is working on a major redesign to the app, to be released in 2020.
Shirali Nigam, Advisor to FoodAllergyLowdown and Co-Founder of AllergySmartz
Shirali Nigam is a 22-year-old with tree nut allergies. Several years ago, while vacationing abroad, Shirali had a horrible allergic reaction. She recalled the feeling that, "A balloon began inflating in my head, red hives bubbling from my skin, and through my Darth Vader-like wheeze I yelled, “I can’t breathe!” The reaction was a consequence of a language barrier with the chef, as key information about cross-contamination was lost in translation. Following this Arul and Shirali vowed to be proactive, and quickly realized a tremendous need in the community to address concerns about traveling with allergies. Together, Arul and Shirali designed AllergySmartz, an app that could be used worldwide, to convey food allergy information and the precautions needed for safe food preparation to restaurant staff if any language that is also user-friendly for non-native English speakers and requires NO internet access. Shirali now serves in an advisory role at FoodAllergyLowdown and AllergySmartz, providing guidance, if needed, to her younger brother, Arul who manages both.