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Young scientist in Rochester could save you a visit to the doctor’s office

Ever wish you could skip the doctors office? A local high schooler came up with a way to avoid some of those visits.

Century High School senior Michelle Mai created an at-home strep throat detection kit that’s more accurate than than anything out there right now.

Mai’s work is turning heads. The Journal of Emerging Investigators, which is an open-access science journal operated by graduate students at Harvard University published her work.

“For me being curious is something I try to do in my every day life,” Mai said.

Something that started as a science fair project for 17 year old Michelle Mai, could end up changing the medical world: an at home, strep throat detection kit.

“Essentially my test is combined with three different methods, I had the DNA extraction, the amplification and the DNA testing where you use the strip,” Mai said.

Results are similar to an at home pregnancy test; the testing results will show your result. 

“So, in here you see the one pink line, and that indicates negative,” Mai explained. “There should be another line that shows up right here, that should indicate a positive reaction.”

And different than traditional tests in a doctors office, results are quick.

“It takes a couple of minutes, you just leave it in the tube, let it reaction and do its thing,” Mai added.

Mai also sees her research having a bigger impact than just being convenient.

“This kit was specifically created for people who are under served in medical areas – who don’t have access to medicine. These are rapid tests, and they’re also affordable to have,” Mai said. “Giving, like, an accessibility to medicine, being more affordable than traditional means of medicine, is something I wanted to create.”

Mai also dreams of being a physician – where she can continue to be curious.

“There’s so many issues that we see in this world that we need solving and they need curious minds and inventive minds to go about solving them,” she said.

Mai doesn’t know what school she’ll be attending next year quite yet, but plans to pursue something in line with pre-med – she sees it as an opportunity to connect with the people her research is benefiting. Mai also plans to pursue a patent for her kit.

Beret Leone

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