Va. girl’s science project becomes medical advancement

WASHINGTON – Some high school science projects are simple, old favorites like the baking soda-and-vinegar volcano. But sometimes, a teenager’s experiment can help break new ground.

That’s the case for a project by a student who graduated in 2010 from one of the area’s most renowned high schools.

Twenty-one-year old Temple Douglas, a rising senior at Princeton University, was a student at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Va., when she assembled something that caught the eye of scientists at George Mason University. She’d interned in Mason’s Aspiring Scientists summer program.

The Fairfax Times reports the one-time high school science project on detection of Lyme disease served as the inspiration for research that could lead to a commercial product that’s available to doctors next year.

The product is now in testing and development through a partnership with George Mason and Ceres Nanosciences. It detects Lyme disease bacteria in urine in earlier stages of infection.

According to the Times, Douglas’ project was motivated by her family’s health struggles — her mom, sister and brother were infected with Lyme disease.

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