2022 Speakers

Dasia Taylor

Dasia Taylor is an inventor, scientist, and student at the University of Iowa, where she studies global health. Taylor began conducting scientific research in high school, leading to the creation of surgical sutures that indicate infection through pH-based color change. This decreases the amount of time required to identify an infection, a particular issue in developing countries where late diagnosis can lead to death from sepsis. Taylor has received several regional, national, and international awards, including placing first in the University of Iowa Jacobson Institute's Innovator Competition, Glenn T. Seaborg Award that recognizes and encourages research and education in nuclear chemistry and radiochemistry, and has appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” She has presented widely, including at the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Alumni of Color Conference and The New School's Venture Fund Summit.

Dr. Rory Cooper

Dr. Rory Cooper is the founder, director, and CEO of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories (HERL), a joint venture of the University of Pittsburgh, the US Department of Veterans Affairs and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dr. Cooper also serves as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Research for STEM and Health Sciences Collaboration and FISA/PVA Distinguished Professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology at the University of Pittsburgh. He is also Professor in the Bioengineering, Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, and Orthopaedic Surgery departments at the University of Pittsburgh, and holds adjunct professorships at the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University and the Department of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. He was awarded an Honorary Professorship at Hong Kong Polytechnic University and an Honorary Doctorate at Xi’an Jiatong University in Xi'an, China. He has dedicated his career to improving mobility, function, and quality of life for people with disabilities through advanced engineering in clinical research and medical rehabilitation.