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Sara El-Sayed

Sara El-Sayed

Assistant Research Professor, School of Complex Adaptive Systems, College of Global Futures

The Biomimicry Center
Arizona State University
PO Box 873505
Tempe, AZ 85287-3505


  • Senior Global Futures Scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory
  • Assistant Research Professor, School of Complex Adaptive Systems, College of Global Futures
  • Co-Director, The Biomimicry Center, Arizona State University
  • Assistant Research Professor, Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory


El-Sayed has a joint position as the Co-Director of the Biomimicry Center and Assistant Research Professor at the Swette Center for Sustainable Food Systems. El-Sayed has a doctorate in food system sustainability, specifically on regenerative food practices in arid regions, and a master's in Biomimicry both from ASU. She also has a Biomimicry Professional Certificate from Biomimicry 3.8. She held a postdoctoral position at the School for Future innovation and Society, in Public Interest Technology. Her research interests include exploring ways to have more regenerative and net-positive local food systems, she is currently involved in the local Arizona food space. Previously she worked as a researcher in Biomimicry and microbial geographies. She is the co-founder of several enterprises in Egypt. Nawaya is a social enterprise working as a catalyst to transition small-scale farmer communities into more sustainable ones through education and research. Dayma an LLC responsible for outdoor Environmental Education, teaching young adults about Biomimicry and local Egyptian communities. Clayola is an LLC producing low-tech irrigation systems. She is an avid traveler, nature lover, and enjoys tasting foods, cooking and interacting with people through food experiences. Sara is on the board of Slow Food, an international movement that started in Italy aiming to safeguard local food cultures and traditions and does so by promoting Good, Clean, and Fair food for all.


  • PhD, Sustainable Food Systems, Arizona State University, 2021
  • MS, Biomimicry, Arizona State University, 2016
  • Certified Biomimicry Professional, Biomimicry 3.8, 2013
  • BA, Anthropology (sociology minor), American University in Cairo, 2002
  • BS, Biology (chemistry minor), American University in Cairo, 2002


External Links

Journal Articles

In Press

El-Sayed, S., P. Borah and C. M. Spackman. The impact of temporary COVID-19 legislative moves on the ability of food enterprises to pivot in Arizona. Journal of Foodservice Business Research DOI: 10.1080/15378020.2022.2063620. (link )


El-Sayed, S. and S. Cloutier. 2022. Weaving disciplines to conceptualize a regenerative food system. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development 11(2):23-51. DOI: 10.5304/jafscd.2022.112.003 . (link )

El-Sayed, S. and C. Spackman. 2022. Follow the ferments: Inclusive food governance in Arizona. Gastronomica 22(1):20-33. DOI: 10.1525/gfc.2022.22.1.20. (link )


El-Sayed, S. 2021. Review of Florentine Frentz, The Pursuit of Food Well-Being: The Mechanism Behind Consumers’ Food Well-Being, and their Relevance for Food Retailing and Marketing, (Springer 2020), Pages 220, Cost 83,19 €. International Journal of Community Well-Being 4:135-140. DOI: 10.1007/s42413-020-00095-2. (link )

Giraud, E. G., S. El-Sayed and A. Opejin. 2021. Gardening for food well-being in the COVID-19 era. Sustainability 13(17): 9687. DOI: 10.3390/su13179687. (link )

Kitch, S., J. McGregor, G. M. Mejia, S. El-Sayed, C. Spackman and J. Vitullo. 2021. Gendered and racial injustices in American food systems and cultures. Humanities 10(2):88. DOI: 10.3390/h10020066. (link )


Dorghamy, Y., M. Dorry, H. N. Barakat, M. Mehrez, S. El-Sayed and S. Ikram. 2019. Egypt's culinary review. Rawi Egypt's Heritage Review 80.

Gheitarani, N., S. El-Sayed, S. Cloutier, M. Budruk, L. V. Gibbons and M. Khanian. 2019. Investigating the mechanism of place and community impact on quality of life of rural-urban migrants. International Journal of Community Well-Being 3:21-38. DOI: 10.1007/s42413-019-00052-8. (link )


Pozzi, S. and S. El-Sayed. 2017. Where is our Baladi food?. Cairo Papers in Social Science 34(4):.



Fehler, M. and S. El-Sayed. 2020. Unlocking nature's secrets: A nature-based tool for sustainable visual communication design. Presentation at the Environmental Design Research Association EDRA51, April 2020, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ.


El-Sayed, S. 2019. Mimicking nature's relationships. Presentation at the Science of Non-Duality SAND, October 2019, San Diego, CA.


El-Sayed, S. 2013. Biomimicry: Tuning into nature. Presentation at the TED Talk, (link )

Pod Casts


El-Sayed, S. Sara El-Sayed on Low-Tech Irrigation. Podcast audio. (link )

El-Sayed, S. Why Travel Egypt to Document the Food Heritage? Interview with Sara El-Sayed (Arabic). Podcast audio. (link )

Blog Posts


El-Sayed, S. 2018. Food for thought at Slow Food Nations [Blog Post]. Retrieved from link

Recipient, COOR Scholarship for Community Engagement, 2020

Recipient, MAXQDA "#ResearchforChange" Grant, 2020

Recipient, Neely Foundation Food and Agriculture Sustainability Research Grant, Arizona State University, 2019