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
A Review of Chatbots and Artificial Intelligence in Genetic Counseling
Multiple groups have investigated using chatbots to expand genetic counseling services. A review is needed to summarize how research groups are implementing artificial intelligence in genetic counseling and patient perspectives of receiving genetic services through chatbots.
Public Health, Ethics, Psychology
How is science (or neuroscience) biased?
In school we are taught that science is impartial and unbiased, yet that is farther than the truth! In this project, we will explore areas of science (experiments, research, teaching, philosophy, etc.) and the biases behind them. We will work to understand inequities inherent to the topic and communicate them clearly (article, video, interview, etc.). We will also imagine what the area of science could be like in a "perfect world" and what things we can do in our reality to mitigate biases and inequities. (Image thanks to iPhone emojis.)
The Anything Project
A huge part of science is going past the current boundary of knowledge and delving into the unknown. In this project we will work together on a science subject that you find exciting and find the "limit" to our knowledge. Here is where the fun part begins - we will imagine and create the studies and direction that you would like to see the field go in. Here's an example: Say you are really interested in brain organoids, which are three dimensional cell systems grown in a dish that are designed to try to mimic the brain (also called "brains in a dish"). What's the current limit of these dish brains? Do they look the same? Are the active? How long do they survive? After finding the answers to these questions we will then explore how to push past this boundary. Perhaps you're interested in how to make them survive longer, how would we do that? Maybe you're thinking about whether we can grow other animals' brains in dishes, is it possible? The end of the project could be a set of experiments you'd like to do, an article discussing future directions/implications of the work, or multimedia depicting this process and where you want the field to go.
Genomic Analysis of Cancer
In this project, you will use transcriptomic and genomic datasets to analyze and classify cancers into biologically meaningful subgroups. Strong bioinformatic and coding background required, ideally with experience in R/Bioconductor.
Ethics of genome engineering
Since the discovery of CRISPR/Cas9 technology's utility for research applications in 2012, there has been a huge boom in genetics research that involves this tool's specific and efficient genome editing. This has been incredibly useful for research, but entered into the public sphere and gained widespread media attention in 2018 when a scientist in China used CRISPR/Cas9 to genome edit human embryos, implant them, and three babies were born with possible genome edits. How did scientists and non-scientists alike respond to this event? What do we think is the future of gene-targeted therapy and how can we keep it safe? How do ethicists and policymakers comment on genome editing and gene-targeted therapy? What types of oversight bodies can we put into place nationally and internationally within and beyond the scientific community and what can those look like? We could write a scientific review article, news article, blog, make a vlog, or write a short stories about this topic.
Tactical Urbanism in your Community!
With Covid19's global impact, the desire for outdoor, socially distant spaces and activities continues to grow. Let's design an outdoor recreation area that educates users on sustainable construction and allows for a variety of socially distant activities in an outdoor setting. Depending on your interest of architectural or civil engineering (or both), we can tackle this problem and incorporate unique urbanizing techniques while addressing sustainable development concerns. We can compile these findings and pitch a project proposal presentation as a deliverable
Engineering, Physics, Creative Writing, Ethics, Music, Fluid Dynamics
What do we know about a topic? Where are the gaps in our knowledge? Pulling together all the relevant background info is an important skill for research. With a literature review project, we can work together to help you build skills that will be useful for ANY research in your future. We'll go over topics like how to find papers, how to read a scientific article, and how to write a literature review summarizing what we know about a topic. We can work with any topic you're interested in! Here are some ideas to start off: How do high school sports affect long-term health? How are students selected for college or medical school? Do SAT/ACT score predict success? How has COVID-19 affected specific groups of people, like doctors or high schoolers? What medical specialties have the most workforce diversity?
Biology, Surgery, Ethics, Social Science
History of Hip Hop Dance
This project will be a combination of studying the history of different hip hop dance styles and active hip hop dance instruction. The student will use dance as a vector for learning more about cultural expression. After delving into the meaning behind different hip hop practices, the student will create a dance routine that combines many styles, and in turn celebrates many cultures.
Memory and music
Write a review on how music affects our memory. Read studies done by neuroscientists about music and memory, and then compile them into a review article to submit to a middle/high school journal.
Neuroscience, Music, Ethics
High School Health Independence
Adolescents often have difficulty managing medical problems as they transition from pediatric to adult care. In this project, we will work together to help improve high school students' understanding of their role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Biology, Public Health, Ethics
Immunotherapy: how we can use the immune system to fight cancer
Throughout this project, students can learn more basics of the immune system and apply that knowledge to a therapeutic area. Students can pick one or more immunotherapies to study and describe how these treatment rely on features of the immune system to help treat cancer. This project can be customized based on where the student wants to focus- we can easily work on a publishable review paper or create an oral presentation for students to share at the Polygence Symposium of Rising Scholars. In either option, students would have the opportunity to practice communicating science to both scientific and non-scientific audiences.
Cancer, Ethics, Medicine
The Evolution of Immunity
Write a research paper about the immune system, how it works, and how it evolved. This research paper could also talk about specific diseases and how they interact with the immune system. You could also do research about how your community perceives risks with respect to the immune system and different diseases.
Biology, Ethics, Cancer, Biotech
What's the hottest in neuroscience?
There are many articles that boast about the newest, hottest developments in neuroscience. But are they "real"? Do they accurately convey the science? How does this affect the public's view of research and their opinions of science? In this project, we find some popular science articles and compare them to the academically published research. By examining the subtleties (and sometimes not so subtle) of science communication, this project aims to get us thinking about the relationship between science and the public. (Image thanks to iPhone emojis.)
Evolution of Eukaryotes - Plants, Animals, Fungi and more!
If you have ever wondered about evolution and how so many diverse life forms could have originated from a common ancestor, then this is the project for you! The last eukaryotic common ancestor lived billions of years ago and it is from this primitive organism that all of the macroscopic life we see around us is descended from. In this project, you will learn about the different characteristics that this ancestor must have possessed, and learn about different scientific models that explain how this evolution occurred. The limitations of these models will be discussed, as well as current research that is ongoing in this field. The project would culminate in either a research review style report or a short series of podcasts describing this topic and how it is relevant to modern understanding of biology.
Cardiomyocytes: The Magic and the Mystery
In this project we will explore how cardiomyocytes work together to create a functional organ that contracts 100,000 times a day. We will learn about the mysteries that surround cardiac development and our barriers to developing healthy adult cardiac tissue in the lab. The end product will be a research paper or presentation detailing cardiomyocyte biology and development and an understanding of the current barriers in the field.
Scientific Literature Review
The project focuses on writing a literature review paper that focuses on the role of centronuclear myopathy-linked genes in regulating nuclear movement and positioning using Drosophila melanogaster as the model organism. Writing a concise review includes choosing specific subtopics of interest within the larger subject and consolidating data from several papers to propose an idea. The subtopics for this review will include studies that look at the effects of disrupting proteins that regulate T-tubule structures in the skeletal muscle, how CNM-linked genes interact with other regulators of nuclear movement, such as microtubule- and actin-associated proteins, and understanding how the entire process is coordinated specifically during embryonic development.
Isolating pigments using 3D Printed Microfluidics
In this project, you will use basic 3D printing techniques to build microfluidic devices which can separate the base pigments that make up multi-component dyes. In the course of this project, I expect that you will expand your engineering expertise with hands-on work, as well as learn about 3D modeling, chemical separations, and fluid dynamics.
The sequencing world
In this project, we can learn about the history and future of sequencing technologies, and how they have revolutionized our understanding of the human genome. Students can explore publicly available datasets or write a review article.
Biology, Creative Writing, Ethics
Make a Sims 4/Illustration-based Museum Exhibit!
Are you passionate about STEM and want other people to learn the same exciting things that made you fall in love with science? What if you designed a museum exhibit for a particular topic (like how our eyes see color, different layers of rock in the earth, etc.) using the online game "Sims 4" or by illustrating an exhibit hall. We would work together to outline the project timeline, learn how to research and find good resources, discover how to teach an audience through the power of storytelling, and give you the scientific communication skills you would need for future college projects.
Ethics, Organizational Leadership, Biotech
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