2,893 Inspirational Research Project Ideas

Turn inspirations into your passion project.

This collection of project ideas, shared by Polygence mentors, is meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

Ethics of naturally derived hallucinogens in treating psychological disorders

Naturally derived hallucinogens such as psilocybin and LSD are gaining traction in scientific research as potentially promising ways to treat psychological disorders such as anxiety, depression, and even dementia. This project would be to research the current ongoing research and clinical trials in the US or worldwide and to discuss hurdles, ethics, and feasibility of these compounds as potential therapeutics.

Cancer, Biotech, Statistics

Justinne
Justinne

Improvements in the Chemotherapy experience of Patients

Quality Improvement (QI) project regarding the experience of chemotherapy patients.

Cancer, Neuroscience, Biotech

Shashwat
Shashwat

Perspective Paper

In this project you will review current literature regarding neuroimmunology, neurobiology and behavior, neurodegeneration, or aging, or another field of research if none of the above interest you. You will then search for papers that shifted how the field shifted with a focus on the most current opposed hypothesis and theories. You will then assess the quality of the data, arguments, rationale's and models and make an argument for your own perspective or for one of the others. A perpspective paper is typically not long (8-12 pages), but dense with material and requires a true dedication to reading the materials and a creative mindset to make a case for which hypothesis you deem worthy of further pursuit!

Biotech

Jacqueline
Jacqueline

History of gene therapy

Summary of the history of gene therapy: From the first time scientists discovered they can use viruses to insert genes into cells and the first person to be cured of Bubble boy syndrome via inserting a missing gene to the current cutting-edge gene-modified Tumor Infiltrating Lymphocytes, which have cured some patients who previously had metastatic tumors and a 30% chance of surviving 5 years. You could tell this story by making a review paper, poster, blog post, or even a podcast. Gene therapy is the future of personalized medicine for any disease, and learning its history is so critical.

Cancer, Biotech

Evelyn
Evelyn

Go with the (Blood) Flow

MRI imaging of the thoracic cavity is a vital tool for the diagnoses and development of treatment plans regarding cardiovascular disease and lung functional abnormalities. A patient is required to remain very still while undergoing MRI because movement can cause artifacts in the results, where movement causes the images to be unclear. The problem is, the heart is always moving, always beating, and the lungs only stop moving for as long as one is not breathing. For the brains behind the code of a magnetic resonance imaging device to have a decent shot at advancing the code to the point where lung and heart movement are accounted for and no longer cause image blurring, they need a phantom heart, a stand-in, one with periodic flow and movement, to optimize their code around. Do you think you can design a system that replicates blood flow, heart movement, and (here's the catch) contains no metal pieces? I think you can :)

Biotech

Ruth
Ruth

A review article about areas for innovation in medical devices

The goal of this project is threefold: 1- Identify leading medical device technologies and their areas of application 2- Identify drawbacks and challenges these devices impose on patients 3- Brainstorm about ideas on how to improve the technologies or what additional features are necessary to be considered for next-generation of such devices. Result: expected results is a scientific article/magazine paper Reference for the submitted image: https://www.plasticstoday.com/medical/future-medical-materials-and-medtech-innovation

Business, Biotech, Engineering, Literature and Languages, AI/ML

Morteza
Morteza

Novel Biotechnology to Fight Climate Change

A review article describing the latest technology from industry and academia that apply biological principles to fight climate change. Some key points will describe the science behind the different approaches, their outlook & scalability, and compare their efficiency to existing technologies.

Biology, Biotech

Shannon
Shannon

Assemble a genome!

One of the most fundamental and interesting problems in biology is converting short, usually 20-100bp sequences of DNA into a full genome. There are lots of state-of-the-art programs to assemble bacterial genomes (which are the smallest, so the easiest to assemble on a laptop), including Spades. Work with me to pick out some bacterial genomes to assemble, and then use Spades (and/or other assembly programs) to assemble genomes and see whether you can generate better assemblies than the original papers.

Biotech

Julian
Julian

Education Gone Viral!

Produce a multimedia article about how viruses work - the article could include animations or stop motion videos or drawings, plus an explanation about the ways viruses function and an explanation of current virus research.

Biology, Ethics, Cancer, Biotech

Nina
Nina

Mild Cognitive Impairment

Analysis of factors leading to MCI or other memory loss conditions with focus on both causes and prevention/treatment.

Cancer, Neuroscience, Biotech

Shashwat
Shashwat

Understanding the role of Protein X in Disease Y

Review papers are a great way to synthesize information about a given subject. Focusing on the student's disease of choice, we would work to summarize existing literature and analyze where the field currently stands. We will also identify key areas that need continued innovations.

Cancer, Biotech, Engineering

Ashley
Ashley

The World of Personalized Medicine

Similar to our fingerprints, our genetic code is also unique to each individual person. Our genetic code is what determines our hair color, height, eye color, skin tone...just about everything! For those that develop diseases such as cancer, their genetic code found inside the malignant cells that comprise a tumor may also be unique to them or to certain groups of people with similar mutations (the drivers of disease). So why is it that we treat each person with the same disease the same way even though the genetic drivers of that disease may be disparate? The world of Personalized Medicine is new and exciting and looks to circumvent this problem. Personalized Medicine (also known as precision medicine) uses the genetic code of a patients disease to guide treatment options that prove to be highly efficacious. Together, lets write a review on a disease of your choice that could benefit from Personalized Medicine based on current data in the literature.

Biology, Cancer, Biotech

Somer
Somer

Mechanosensing Cancer Cells

There is a lot of evidence showing that cancer cells react differently to different matrix stiffnesses and preferentially migrate to stiffer matrices. Being able to see if/how cancer cells migrate to stiffer matrices and how migrating cells react to stimuli would help better understand cancer metastasis and help with drug development.

Biology, Engineering, Math, Cancer, Statistics, Biotech

Joseph
Joseph

Modeling the biosynthesis of valuable biochemical compounds

Tons of valuable chemicals that we use in our everyday life come from, or were originally inspired by, compounds that appear in plants, fungi, and bacteria. This includes most medicines, like the active ingredient in aspirin (salicylic acid), which originally came from the bark of willow trees. And not only are plants and microbes great at making lots of different kinds of chemicals - they can also do it super efficiently as well! Because of this, bioengineers are very interested in putting enzymes, which are proteins that carry out chemical reactions, into easy-to-grow organisms, like the bacterium E. coli, in order to make valuable chemical compounds on an industrial scale. In this project, you will read scientific articles to find chemical compounds - for example, pharmaceutical compounds - that people are interested in synthesizing and harvesting from plants or microbes. Then, you will look at the chemistry involved in making those compounds and see whether the reactions that make them are known and, if so, how feasible it would be to put those reactions into a plant or bacterium. Finally, if it looks feasible, you will modify and then use a model of the plant or microbe's metabolism to predict just how much of that compound you could make under normal growth conditions, allowing you to evaluate how attractive this strategy looks from an industrial standpoint. During this project, you'll learn: (1) how to critically review the literature and identify promising topics to further explore (2) how genes, enzymes, and chemical reactions are related to one another, and how you can find this information (3) what biological/biochemical modeling is, the basics of how to do it, and how to generate and interpret results in a computational biology project The literature review and analysis in this project could be made into a review paper, a short research paper, or a scientific poster. To do the third step of the process, which involves actually working with a computational model, prior experience with Python or another scripting/coding language would be beneficial, but isn't necessarily required.

Biotech

Joshua
Joshua

Detecting Audio Events with AI

In this project, a raspberry pi outfitted with a microphone would be used to detect and classify a particular audio event (e.g. glass breaking) via Deep Learning, and send a notification to a mobile device. The applications here range from personal use to enterprise. For example, a home security system to detect break-ins or equipment breaking in a manufacturing setting.

Biotech, Engineering

Grant
Grant

Evolution of Precision Medicine

The history of medicine shows how societies have changed in their approach to illness and disease from ancient times to the present. Modern medicine has moved from "traditional medicine", where therapies are used uniformly for all patients, to much more personalized approaches of treating diseases called precision medicine. In this project, you will learn about how some of the most innovative, cutting-edge science in modern medicine is changing how we as a society are treating diseases. From harnessing the power of the epigenome, to using a patient's own immune system to treat cancer, and to even replacing a missing gene to cure a genetic disease, precision medicine will undoubtedly have a place in the future of medicine. Once you learn more about these innovative topics, you will then dive deeper into understanding which key players are leveraging this cutting edge science and translating them into actual therapeutics that will hopefully one day help so many people. The project will culminate in a research/review paper that not only analyzes the trends in precision medicine but outlines the future potential of this innovative and exciting area of study.

Public Health, Biotech

Jeff
Jeff

Immunoengineering

Cancer vaccines. Supercharging bone marrow transplants. CAR-T cell therapies. In this exercise, we will explore how engineering can be used to exploit the immune system in the context of disease. Students will learn basic immunology and the latest bioengineering approaches to treating diseases of or involving the immune system. At the end of the exercise, students will be able to (i) understand the underlying immunological and engineering principles of immunotherapy, (ii) create a tangible project that attempts to tackle a disease that can benefit from immunotherapy, and (iii) create a short presentation and written proposal on said project.

Biotech

Nikko
Nikko

Protein Folding:

For this project, you will learn about the biology and physics involved in the process of protein folding. You will learn about biophysical methods for investigating protein folding and protein structure as well as computational models for modeling protein folding. You will write an in-depth review paper on a biophysical technique or theoretical model of your choosing. Some exposure to mathematics, physics, and molecular biology will be helpful.

Biotech, AI/ML

Melanie
Melanie

Investigating marine genomes

Learn how to access and analyze publicly available genomes. of marine creatures like bacteria, corals, sponges, and sea weeds. Search for genes and learn what they encode. Learn how to connect DNA to antibiotic production. Learn bioinformatics and basic command line functions. End product can be a written report, a video, a presentation, or other options if you have an idea in mind.

Biology, Biotech

Kayla
Kayla

Understanding the role of alternative splicing across neurological diseases

This project will dive into the molecular dynamics behind neurological disorders. Here we will research differences in alternative splicing between healthy patients and those with neurological disorders. Finally you can propose treatments targeting the differential splicing occuring.

Cancer, Neuroscience, Biotech

Haley
Haley