17-year old high schooler Dasia Taylor made it as one of the 40 finalists in the national Regeneron Talent Search, which is the country’s oldest science fair.
Her invention involves special sutures that change color to detect infection.
The sutures are a solution to a serious health problem in areas where post-surgical infection rates are high. There are smartphone-based infection early warning systems, but those are expensive and impractical in places where smartphones aren’t in wide use.
Taylor started the project in 2019 in her chemistry class at Iowa City West High School and already has won several regional science fairs.
Her method uses beetroot which responds to changes in pH. Turns out that the pH of wounds increases dramatically when infected.
Taylor’s project sutures won her $25,000 and the Seaborg Award, given by the other finalists to whichever student most embodies the spirit of their class.