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technology 25 Nov 2019

17-year-old Teen invents color-changing stitches to detect infections in surgical wounds

By Waiswa Wafula.

Dasia Taylor, the 17-year-old student at Iowa City West High School in Iowa City, Iowa began working on a concept in October 2019 that would qualify her as a finalist at the Regeneron Science Talent Search (a prestigious competition for High School seniors.)

She utilized beet dye to develop suture thread that changes colour from bright red to dark purple when a surgical wound becomes infected.

Taylor was motivated by data from infections after cesarean Sections. Research shows that in some African nations, up to 20% of women develop site infections after C-section than in the U.S where infections range rate from 8%-10%

“I’ve done a lot of racial equity work in my community, I’ve been a guest speaker at several conferences, so when I was presented with this opportunity to do research, I couldn’t help but go at it with an equity lens.” Said Taylor.

In the lab, she noticed the beet dye structure change color almost instantaneously when the PH level changes from healthy to infected.

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 “I found that beets changed color at the perfect pH point, that’s perfect for an infected wound. And so, I was like, ‘Oh, okay. So beets is where it’s at.’” Said the 17-year-old.

Taylor plans to patent her invention as she continues with her studies so it can be put into practice and begin helping women around the world.

After graduation, she hopes to attend Howard University to study political science and become a lawyer. She has also continued to work on the project, taking in feedback she has received from judges in the numerous Science Competitions she has participated in.