Iowa teen inspired by Grey's Anatomy invents stitches that change colour when wound is infected

  • 22 May - 28 May, 2021
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Mag Files

In AP Human Geography class, Dasia Taylor learned that the leading cause of death in developing countries is post-surgical infections, often from routine surgical procedures – and she knew she had to do something about it. Striving to find a low-cost, effective way to prevent people from dying, the 17-year-old student created surgical stitches using beet juice, which makes the stitches change colour when a wound becomes infected. "I am not a science genius," Taylor says. "Beets are a natural indicator, they change colour when the pH changes." Her hope is that the stitches will be used to close wounds in developing countries, and then if they change colour, a patient will know to immediately seek medical care. "People die," says the senior at Iowa City West High School. "I had a solution." An avid Grey's Anatomy fan who is passionate about social justice and equity work, Taylor says she didn't know a beaker from a flask when she began working in the lab. Still, she was determined to make her vision happen. Now, she's patenting her invention, and trying to set up commercial lab space before starting college, where she hopes to major in political science. "I have to continue my research. These stitches literally will revolutionise wound treatment in developing countries," she says. "I'm definitely not stopping until my stitches get to those who need them."