In a time when handwashing is more important than ever, one Marksman is using his knowledge of science to create a safer, healthier hand sanitizer. During a family cruise early last year, Abhi Jain ’22 noticed the large number of hand-sanitizing stations located throughout the ship to help combat the potential spread of disease. Intrigued, he began researching hand sanitizers and discovered that some ingredients may have harmful side effects on the human body.
“I took action and began developing a healthier hand sanitizer with the support of chemists and microbiologists, whom I had reached out to,” Abhi said.
Biology teacher Dr. Bonnie Flint, along with the larger science department at St. Mark’s helped mentor and guide Abhi in the formation of the project. “Dr. Flint’s careful insight was vital to this project,” Abhi said. Under her guidance, he was able to perfect his research and conclusion.
Ultimately, Abhi created a natural hand sanitizer without alcohol, that has a pleasant smell, and keeps the skin moisturized. His product even tested better than some leading brands. Abhi presented his scientific data at the Dallas Regional Science and Engineering Fair held in February.
“Abhi is following a countless number of his cohorts in his efforts to improve the world,” said Ray Westbrook, Gene & Alice Oltrogge Master Teaching Chair and Abhi’s advisor.
Abhi launched online fundraising to raise awareness of the potential harmful side effects of many hand sanitizers, and for continued testing and distribution of his own hand sanitizer. Having reached his fundraising goal, Abhi plans to conduct more sophisticated testing of his hand sanitizer against more types of bacteria and viruses, and potentially file a patent.
“St. Mark’s has encouraged a fearlessness to jump into the unknown and the courage to push through the project and utilize his resources,” said Abhi’s mother, Shilpi Jain. “The fact that Abhi took on this project shows that he can imagine a better future beyond the one that exists.”
Abhi also founded Humanity4Humanity, a club at St. Mark’s that promotes humanitarianism, primarily targeting hunger, education, and mental health. Since COVID-19 emerged, he began actively researching the impact of the pandemic on our mental health and well-being.