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.
- Comp Sci
- Comp Sci - Game Design
- Creative Writing
- Environmental Science
- Fluid Dynamics
- Literature and Languages
- Organizational Leadership
- Public Health
- Social Science
- Sports Analytics
But what does it look like?: Investigating the effect of singular mutations on disease
Our entire world depends on the tireless function of enzymes--from plants to bacteria to mammals, we would be lost without them. In this project, we will explore how minute changes in an enzyme's (a type of protein) makeup can have a vast effect personal health and even contribute to diseases. You will select a human disease of your interest and together we will explore the dysfunction of the enzymes responsible for this disease. You will learn about the biochemistry behind the structure-function relationships of enzymes and how any small changes or mutations in a protein can affect overall phenotype or physical appearance. Throughout this project, you will learn how to trace a mutation in a protein's composition through to its functional and pathological effects using literature review and first-hand documentation from the scientists and medical doctors searching to better understand this disease. You can present your research in a format of your choosing--whether that be in the form of a research review paper, a podcast where you present your findings and interview experts in this field, or create a video to highlight your personal interest in the project!
Building a Blood Vessel
Use online graphics to illustrate how a blood vessel forms. For this project, we will complete a literature search together to understand what is known about blood vessel growth. Then, you will utilize this information to generate a graphic with no words to demonstrate how the vasculature forms. The goal of this project is to explain science without using text and therefore make it more available to a larger community.
Epigenetics in Cancer
Epigenetics is the study of changes in gene expression that do not involve changes to the underlying DNA sequence. What is known about epigenetic changes in cancer? Are some cancers more predisposed to epigenetic effects
Foundations of CRISPR-screening
In this project, you will survey the blooming field of CRISPR-screening and utilizing Cas9 to do high-throughput assays. You will write a scientific research paper in the style of Nature Biotechnology or create a more fun way to explore your newfound knowledge.
Identifying Cancer Drivers
In this project, you will use existing datasets and scientific papers to identify genes that may drive or cause cancer. By delving into primary scientific literature, you will suggest potential ways these genes may cause cancer and propose ways to test that hypothesis.
Glucocorticoid Receptor Activation and Breast Cancer Progression
A literary review of a key stress pathway and its impact on breast cancer progression. Elucidating how activation of the glucocorticoid receptor and its downstream target genes lead to breast cancer metastasis and invasion.
Boosting the immune system to fight cancer
Immunotherapies seek to enhance the immune system to identify and kill cancer cells. In this project, we will review different types of immunotherapies like cancer vaccines, adoptive cell transfer, checkpoint blockade, antibodies, or focus on a particular type.
The Development and Treatment of Cancer
Cancer is a collection of related diseases united by unregulated cell replication. Certain viruses, such as HPV, are considered oncoviruses, meaning they are cancer causing. Different types of cancer, and even different subtypes, have drastically different outcomes. For example, patients with HPV-mediated cancers are more sensitized to radiation, meaning lower doses of treatment may be equally effective as higher doses but with fewer side effects. In this project, students can pick a specific type of cancer and do a deep-dive on the mutation that causes the cancer, the treatment, and current/future therapies.
Biology, Cancer, Public Health
Trash Talk: Ways to Reduce Laboratory Waste
Every year, laboratories produce 12 billion pounds of plastic waste. But, labs need to use sterile equipment like pipets and gloves. An interesting project would be to investigate ways that labs can reduce waste, like using glass pipets and recycling gloves. Or investigating what we do with all the masks used in COVID-19 and writing a report on whether fabric masks are actually less protective.
Cancer, Environmental Science
Cancer Treatment Review
In this project, students will identify a cancer of interest and perform a scientific literature review on the history of treatment for this specific type of cancer. Once the students have learned about the history of its treatment, the student will investigate current treatments and their level of effectiveness. Lastly, the students will then prepare a presentation for which they'll be able to share their findings!
Return of Genetic Results
Currently, the returning of genetic results is a topic that is highly discussed within genetics research. Most of the conversations are occurring among high income settings such as the US, Canada and Europe. This project will be a research paper to explore and offer recommendations on whether scientists should or should not offer return of genetic results to participants from low resource settings.
Cancer, Public Health
Say No to Vaping
Tobacco is a known risk factor for many diseases including various cancers and cardiovascular disease. Surges in e-cigarette use, especially among teens, are concerning. In this project, the student will analyze current research regarding the effects of vaping on health and then create a poster, pamphlet, social media infographic, or a blog to help increase awareness about these detrimental health effects and potential recommendations for quitting tobacco. The student may choose to conduct research regarding the availability of tobacco products and attitudes of teenagers regarding tobacco (before and after a presentation of risk factors). Additionally, the student may choose a body system and conduct a literature review on the effects of smoking on that particular system (example: harmful effects of smoking on the developing fetus).
Cancer, Public Health
Important Molecular Pathways In Cancer
What are the hallmarks of cancer? Which pathways are most commonly found in cancer and their role in cancer emergence and progression?
Creating Interactive Data Visualizations with R Shiny
Many research findings are presented in the form of static black and white images, which can be difficult for audiences to fully understand and engage with. This project aims to bring static data to life by using R Studio's Shiny App, a web application framework for R. Specifically, we will parse research data, determine appropriate visualization methods for the data, and create an interactive app to showcase the data. This will allow audiences to interact with the data in a more meaningful way and understand the research findings more clearly. Project Goals: -Learn to parse data and determine appropriate visualization methods -Develop an interactive app using R Shiny to showcase the data -Understand how interactive data visualization can improve understanding of research findings. This project will provide students with experience in R programming, data visualization, and web development, and will allow them to apply these skills to create an interactive tool that can be used to communicate research findings to a wider audience.
Biology, Cancer, Public Health
2. Cancer therapy resistance:
Cancer is very difficult to treat, each cancer is different and they can quickly develop resistance to various treatments. In this project you can learn about cancer treatments, drug resistance and predictive biomarkers of resistance. It's all about personalized medicine. Through data-mining you will identify potential new markers of clinical therapy resistance.
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
Investigating the role of diet and lifestyle factors in the development and progression of colon cancer.
Colon cancer is a leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide, and a variety of factors have been identified as potential risk factors for its development. Among these are dietary and lifestyle factors such as obesity, physical inactivity, and alcohol consumption. In this project, we will investigate the potential link between these risk factors and the prevalence of colon cancer in different populations and geographic regions, with the goal of identifying potential strategies for preventing or reducing the risk of colon cancer. This project could involve the following steps: 1. Research the known risk factors for colon cancer, including dietary and lifestyle factors such as obesity, physical inactivity, and alcohol consumption. 2. Use online databases and other sources to collect data on the prevalence of colon cancer and the associated risk factors in different populations and geographic regions. 3. Use statistical analysis software to determine whether there are significant correlations between the prevalence of colon cancer and the identified risk factors. 4. Analyze the data and interpret the results, and write a scientific report summarizing the findings and their implications for the role of diet and lifestyle factors in colon cancer development.
Time and Cancer
Time, the one thing in life no one can control, seems to have a major influence over the type and severity of cancer. Some cancer types are prevalent in children, while others are almost exclusively found in older patients. Within specific cancer types, treatment and therapy options can vary immensely depending on when the cancer is found. Why do we see any of these trends?
Exploring the connections between cancer, organ transplantation and pregnancy:
For years, scientists have been trying to solve problems related to organ transplantation and cancer. When a patient receives a much-needed organ from a donor, the immune system can recognize the organ as foreign and attack it. However, when a patient develops cancerous cells, the immune system can fail to recognize that the cells don't belong, allowing the cancer to spread. Yet, during pregnancy, a mother is able to carry a fetus for 9 months even though half of its genetic material is not shared by the mother. Can cancer and pregnancy help us solve some of the challenges related to organ transplantation? Students can learn about transplantation immunology, tumor immunology and reproductive immunology. From any of these projects, students can acquire skills such as critical reading and thinking, interdisciplinary research, distinguishing fact from opinion, problem solving, organization, project management, self-management, oral and/or written communication, science communication and more. End products will depend on what resources are available to the student, but can include a graphical abstract, teaching presentation, stop motion video or research proposal.
Vaccines of the Future
In this project, students will explore the intricacies of vaccine design and how to build better vaccines for infectious diseases and cancer. Students will develop an understanding of the following: What are the components of a vaccine? What are the different vaccine platforms currently being studied and their advantages/disadvantages? What are the key differences between the vaccines we develop to prevent infectious diseases and therapeutic cancer vaccines?