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10 Neuroscience Research Project Ideas for High Schoolers

Research Opportunities
Jordan Ellington

Neuroscientists study the ins and outs of the wiring within our nervous systems. If you’ve ever been interested in what happens within the brain to cause memory loss from something like Alzheimer’s Disease, this could be a great career path for you to explore! However, if the clinical side of Neuroscience doesn’t interest you, there are plenty of other brain and cell related avenues to check out!

There are a variety of different neuroscience paths to follow such as affective, cognitive, behavioral, clinical, developmental, and more! Here’s a list of 10 virtual research project ideas to get you started. 

If you any of these pique your interest, sign up to get matched with a mentor and get started on your project! 

1) Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience and BCIs/Neuroprosthetics 

Type: Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience 

Level: Beginner 

Begin your project by working with a mentor to learn the basics of neuroscience! From there, put your new found knowledge into practice by conducting some simple, at home, experiments. You will walk away from this project with in-depth nervous system knowledge along with a grasp on the experiments that were conducted that brought these discoveries to light.   

Idea by Mentor: Isabelle

2) Ethical and Scientific Considerations of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell (iPSC) Research

Type: Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience 

Level: Beginner 

Take a deep dive into stem cell research to gain a thorough understanding of the principles involved. Do research into the ethical and scientific underpinnings of stem cell research and its medicinal uses. Once done, you will use your findings to write a review paper! 

Idea by mentor Chris

3) The Rhythms of Our Brain

Type: General Neuroscience 

Level: Beginner 

How does our brain communicate? What is neural oscillation and how do neurons communicate? What are synapses and how do they work?  Do you want to create a visualization of what you learned? Write a paper about it? Create a video? It’s your choice how to educate the world on what you learned!

Idea by mentor Stacey

4) The Neuroscience of Illusions 

Type: Affective Neuroscience

Level: Intermediate 

Our perception of the world and everything around us is impacted greatly by our neural circuits. An example of this would be how changes in light affect our visual system. In this project, you spend time understanding and unpacking the brain’s wiring and how illusions are formed. 

Idea by Mentor: Emma  

5) Animal Models of Stress In Neuroscience

Type: Affective Neuroscience 

Level: Intermediate 

If you’re curious about the impact that stress can have on the brain, let’s find out! Stress has been known to change the behaviors in both humans and animals due to the cellular changes triggered within the brain. Study the changes of an animal's brain before and after stress to get a better understanding of what this can also look like for humans. 

Idea by mentor Sydney 

6) Topics in Behavioral Neuroscience 

Type: Behavioral Neuroscience

Level: Intermediate 

Have you ever wondered what is triggered in our brains that enforces us to behave a certain way? Due to the nervous system, humans and animals are capable of behaving in a multitude of different ways. Explore the various aspects of behavioral neuroscience to get a better understanding of how neuroscientists study our brains behavior. Use your findings to write a review paper, video, or podcast! 

Idea by Mentor: Ethan

7) Exploring the Mind/Brain Connection

Type: Affective Neuroscience 

Level: Intermediate 

How does something as small as a cell provide us with emotions, thoughts, senses, and everything that makes up who we are as unique individuals?  How exactly cell signals get translated into thoughts, emotions, and feelings? What are the chemical pathways involved? What are diseases that disrupt those pathways and what is the impact of such disorders?  Center your paper on finding answers to these questions!     

Idea by mentor Marley 

8) Exploring the Current State of Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Type: Clinical Neuroscience 

Level: Intermediate 

Learn about the ins and outs of neurodevelopmental disorders and how they are advancing each day. How are these disorders diagnosed and how are they treated? Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to analyze scientific papers around this matter and develop a review paper. What treatments are the most effective and least effective? Are some treatment plans riskier than others?

Idea by mentor Carmen  

9) Neuroscience and Neurodegenerative Disease:

Type: Clinical Neuroscience 

Level: Intermediate 

If you’re interested in learning more about Alzheimer’s disease and what it does to your brain, you’ve come to the right place! AD has been all the rage lately in the scientific community. It’s very likely that you yourself are caring for aging family members or know someone who is actively in a caretaker role. How do we best support those suffering from AD?  What is the history of treatments for this disease?  What are the neurological underpinnings of this disease and does it affect women more than men? Use your findings to create a research paper or blog. 

Idea by mentor Deborah 

10) Elucidating the Mechanisms of Metabotropic Glutamate Receptors and their Therapeutic Potential in Neuropsychiatric Disorders

Type: Cognitive Neuroscience 

Level: Advanced 

Neuroscientists have spent years researching things such as how our memories are impacted by certain receptors, but have little knowledge on metabotropic glutamate receptors and their impact in fundamental neurobiology. If you’re already quite familiar with neuroscience and want to dig deeper into this field, this might be the right project for you! 

Idea by Mentor Chiaki 

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