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Dasia Taylor

Founder & CEO, Variegate Health

Inventor Dasia Taylor is one of those people who seems destined to change the world. At just 14 years old, she was consulting at Harvard on the topic of equity. Now 19, Dasia is in the process of patenting her first medical device — low-cost sutures that switch color if an infection has occurred, an affordable innovation on electronic “smart” sutures that could transform health care in underserved communities and save countless lives. Dasia’s path to invention began in 11th grade at Iowa City West High School in Iowa, when she developed her sutures for a science fair project and ended up winning at state and national competitions. Since then, Dasia has received national attention, appearing on the Ellen DeGeneres Show and in many news articles. But her favorite part of her job, she says, is the volunteer work she does at elementary schools back home in Iowa. “It just makes my heart happy,” she says. And her heart is focused on equity. It’s the lens through which she approaches everything — from invention to outreach — and is the inspiration for her new company, Variegate. Her invention uses beets, which change color at different pH levels, as a natural indicator of infection. When beets detect acidity changes in the skin, the sutures change from bright red to dark purple. This color change serves as early detection of an infection. Dasia came up with this idea after learning about smart sutures that use technology to detect wound changes and sync to a doctor’s computer or smartphone. Knowing that this expensive technology would not be accessible to people in developing countries – where infection from surgical wounds is comparatively higher — Dasia set out to create a more cost-effective solution. Dasia’s research project landed her among the top 40 finalists in the Regeneron Science Talent Search – the country’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors. She is currently seeking a patent for her invention and plans to continue her research to ensure these life-saving sutures help people. Dasia recently graduated from Iowa City West High School in Iowa City and will be attending the University of Iowa in the fall.

Minority Executives Making Moves articles are current at the time of publication.

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