Mary Virgallito, director of patient safety at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, teaches a class of Rosemont Middle School students about antibiotic resistance superbugs during a recent visit.

An eighth-grade student from a local middle school has made her mark at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital, after her entry was chosen as the winner in a naming contest for a new disinfection robot at the hospital.

Chloe A. of Rosemont Middle School entered a recent contest among students in the community to name the hospital’s Xenex robot, winning a $100 gift card for her submission of “Luna.”

The Xenex robot is a no-touch disinfection device that uses UV radiation to zap superbugs after a patient room has already been cleaned by traditional methods. This added layer of protection lowers the risk of infection by more than 50 percent. USC-VHH is the first hospital in the Glendale area to use the Xenex robot.

Chloe was among the dozens of local students to meet the robot as part of an educational tour during National Patient Safety Week in March. A team of hospital experts took the hospital’s new germ-zapping Xenex robot to Rosemont Middle School in La Crescenta, La Canada High School and Fremont Elementary School in Glendale.

Students learned about the development of antibiotic-resistant superbugs and what hospitals nationwide are doing to stop them. The lesson included topics like the structure of germs; how the germ membrane is broken by hand-washing, antibacterial gel and UV radiation; and why superbugs are a growing problem.

The classes were taught by Mary Virgallito, RN, director of patient safety at USC-VHH. Virgallito also is the acting president of the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Association of Professionals in Infection Control. She grew up in the La Canada-Flintridge area and attended La Canada High School, where her favorite class was Advanced Placement (AP) Biology. As part of this educational tour, she visited the AP Biology class and reunited with her former teacher. —Mary Dacuma