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.

Applying machine learning to interpret the Raman spectra of mixtures

Raman spectroscopy is an emerging, non-destructive analytical technique useful in-line bioprocess monitoring. A major barrier to its widespread deployment is the challenge interpreting the spectra of mixtures. Advanced computer vision algorithms have shown considerable promise in improving the interpretation of these mixture spectra, yet advances in this area are limited due to the lack of freely available Raman mixture datasets. Software can be used to generate synthetic Raman spectra, allowing for the creation of large datasets needed to assess the performance of computer vision algorithms. There is limited research in this area and it would be an exciting, inexpensive project to explore spectroscopy, machine learning, software development and biopharmaceutical production.

Biology, Chemistry, AI/ML

Dexter
Dexter

Industrial Proteins

There are several proteins used in industry that need to be produced and purified at large scales. For example, the antibodies used in antibody treatments are proteins. There are several challenges associated with large-scale production of proteins considering their biological nature. For this project, you will study a certain protein used in industry, investigate the current production process, and determine how the process can be made more efficient.

Biology, Engineering, Chemistry

Alina
Alina

Cancer health disparities

Unfortunately, many studies have shown that race and gender can affect the level of care cancer patients receive which ultimately affects their survival chances. In this project, you can research a specific area of disparity and its affects on cancer patients. Next, you can propose a strategy to overcome the disparity using knowledge of cancer medicine and public health policy.

Biology, Cancer, Chemistry

Sarah
Sarah

Drug therapies for cancer

Cancer has a major impact on society affecting millions of people each year. Researchers are working hard to understand, at a molecular level, the causes of cancer and using this knowledge to develop drug therapies. For this project, you will pick one or a few related cancer drugs on the market to research and understand biological how they work at a molecular level.

Cancer, Chemistry

Rachel
Rachel

Battery Storage

Batteries are proving to be a great way to store large amounts of energy from intermittent renewable sources. This project could involve researching current battery technologies and showing how much battery storage a city (or state/province) would need to run 100% off of renewable sources.

Engineering, Chemistry

Landon
Landon

Literature Review: 5-HT2 (Serotonin)-specific Small Molecules and Their Potential Applications

5-HT2 receptors (release serotonin) are important for regulation of sleep and play a role in the disease progression of depression. SSRIs target the serotonin transporter (SERT) and are often used for treatment of depression and some sleep conditions. However, specifically targeting serotonin receptor release could provide potential nuance and benefit in treatment of serotonin-related conditions. This review would entail reading about the function of 5-HT2 receptors and explore current research in selective small molecule development.

Neuroscience, Chemistry

Maria
Maria

Investigating sleep and disease

Sleep disruption (i.e. not being able to fall asleep, stay asleep, etc.) is common comorbidity in many neurodevelopmental disorders (such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Schizophrenia), aging diseases (such as alzheimer's disease), and depression. I am envisioning these types of projects to investigate what the potential role of sleep loss is in one of these diseases or disorders. The project could be in the forum or a blog post or review about this topic. If you are interested, I could see a very interesting survey/ 'study' asking patients with any of these conditions about how they sleep. The main questions for this type of project would be: Is there a connection between chronic sleep disruptions and this disease/disorders? What could be the potential role of sleep loss in one of these diseases/disorders?

Biology, Neuroscience, Biotech, Chemistry

Sean
Sean

Sleep medication: A bottle of lies or a bottle of dreams

There are many drug and other substances (such as melatonin) that are prescribed to people that have issues going or staying asleep. However many of these medications have mixed efficacy and it is unknown exactly what they do. These types of projects could revolve around investigating a currently known drug/ substance (such as ambien or melatonin). We can research how the drug effects the brain (if it is known), how effective the drugs are, how the drugs should be taken for maximum effect, and other details of the drug. We could also investigate potential future sleep therapies (an example could be endocannabinoids) that could be ground breaking or have better results than the current sleep drug market. We could also develop a survey to determine how any or many of these drugs are helping people sleep.

Biology, Neuroscience, Biotech, Chemistry

Sean
Sean

What Is The Carnivore Diet?

There has been a recent interest in the 'carnivore' diet - a diet consisting of consumption of purely meat-based products and meat - which has been anecdotally successful at treating patients with immune disorders. Clinical studies on the carnivore diet's impact on longevity, health, and other metrics have been few however. Is it a fad? Or is there a key insight about it that could be beneficial for those looking to improve their health? Learn how to design a clinical trial to test the impact of nutrition on human health through this 'tasty' project!

Chemistry, Comp Sci, Photography, Business, Math, Neuroscience

Steven
Steven

Chemical Education without Barriers

Teach Chemistry students of all ages Chemical Education through varying different means (podcast, accessible website that simplifies material, videos/posters providing summary of a certain topic.)

Biology, Public Health, Chemistry

Mary
Mary

Creating a short film

In this project, you will capture content on the topic of your choice, then use software such as iMovie or other editing platforms, to edit your clips together into a short film. This project gives you an opportunity to explore filmmaking by learning techniques to combine clips and add audio and visual effects.

Biology, Public Health, Languages, Chemistry

Melanie
Melanie

Survey Research

Projects of this sort involve the creation, distribution, analysis, and interpretation of survey data. Surveys are typically used to identify how large numbers of variables correlate with each other, and to describe what is currently true of a given group of people. Students will learn how to find high-quality research resources, how to create a high-quality survey, collect at least 100 responses, code these responses, and will write up their results in scholarly format. If the final product is of high quality, I can assist students in submitting it for publication by a high-school research journal. Exemplar topics include: Patient perceptions of primary care encounters, Student perceptions of careers in STEM, Student attitudes toward mask mandates, Student priorities in their college search, and so forth

Chemistry

Coy
Coy

Ocean Acidification

As the world moves towards global warming, we are seeing increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This constantly shifts the equilibrium of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the concentration of carbon dioxide in the ocean. As CO2 is introduced to water, it forms an acidic compound that results in lowering the pH of the ocean gradually. This can have detrimental effects on organisms that live there, in particular coral and shellfish whose exoskeletons can be especially susceptible to acid. This project could be used to do a deeper dive in the acidification rate of the ocean and examine potential impacts to organisms living in the ocean.

Comp Sci, Chemistry

Janson
Janson

A Brief Synopsis on Modern Drug Discovery and How It Can Be Improved

Creation of safe and effective drugs is a vital part of healthcare. While it is valuable to understand how and why pharmaceutical discoveries are successful, it is equally important to appreciate the common pitfalls/shortcomings that underly failed clinical trials. Here, we briefly summarize the Dos and Don'ts of drug discovery and the ways we may fundamentally improve on this essential process.

Biology, Neuroscience, Psychology, Chemistry

Andrew
Andrew

Impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Education

This project will investigate how changes imposed by COVID-19 affect several metrics of educational quality, including changes in GPA, levels of stress, etc. Some examples of predictor variables include a student's region of residence (and vaccination rate in that region), their types of hobbies or extracurriculars, and the mode of instruction they received during the height of the pandemic. To accomplish this project, you will need to create and broadcast a survey to gather the data, which you will interrogate using machine learning and statistical analysis techniques.

Comp Sci, Chemistry

Jim
Jim

Understanding Traditional Medicinal Plants through Modern Science

The field of ethnobotany takes inspiration from plants used in traditional medicines as a starting point for further research. This project would begin by picking a traditional culture with documented medicinal plants. I would help the student find some plants of interests based on the traditional use and then survey the literature for what kinds of molecules are found in the plant. From there, these different classes of molecules could be further studied using current scientific literature to hypothesize which chemicals in the plant might be responsible for its therapeutic capabilities. This could culminate in a final report walking through the process of discovery. Through this project, students would be able to learn more about other cultures, how to search the scientific literature, and how to form scientific hypotheses.

Biology, Chemistry

Christian
Christian

Bioinspiration: Do animals hold the answers?

Can the toxins frogs produce help us fight antibiotic resistant bacteria strains? How can understanding how lizards and newts regrow their limbs help us improve wound treatment? Why do tilapia skins help with burns? Discover the role of animals in the development of modern medicine as well as its potential. Share your findings in a research proposal, article, or presentation.

Biology, Engineering, Chemistry

Cheyenne
Cheyenne

Personalized cancer clinical trials

Cancer is a personalized disease - no two patients will have exactly the same cancer. This problem makes cancer difficult to treat and cure. Modern cancer research looks for disease markers specific to certain patients that may make them respond better to certain treatments. In this project, you can choose a cancer type and review the different markers known to inform patient treatment outcomes. Then, you can design a clinical trial to test a new treatment in the different patient populations to learn hands-on about personalized medicine.

Biology, Cancer, Chemistry

Sarah
Sarah

Self-driving Cars on Mars

Self-driving systems have undergone dramatic development in the last decade; this development represents advancements in many fields, both software (computer vision and machine learning) and hardware (sensor systems). How might these technological advancements be applied to exploration on other planets? Research needs to be done to identify relevant technologies on Earth and how they can be applied to extraterrestrial navigation.

Engineering, Physics, Chemistry, Comp Sci, Math

Adam
Adam

Predicting the Survival/Treatment/Drug Effect of Alzheimer Patients

Alzheimer's Disease and other neurodegenerative disorders (e.g., Parkinson's, Huntington's, ALS) are complex and not well studied. There are few treatments available, and often times no predictors or early indicators of who may become afflicted with the disease. However there is lots of free open-source data that we could use to try to predict which patients respond to treatment, or their age of diagnosis. We could also try to find early biomarkers or other variables that correlate with patient outcome. There's a whole litany of projects that we can devise. Whatever the project, we'll create a question and hypothesis, read background material, create and refine a machine learning model, and write up the results in an essay or research-style paper. Requirements: basic working knowledge of R, python, or other language.

Chemistry

Kenneth
Kenneth