2,893 Inspirational Passion 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
- Creative Writing
- Environmental Science
- Game Design
- Literature and Languages
- Organizational Leadership
- Public Health
- Social Science
- Sports Analytics
Macrophage plasticity in human diseases
It is well-known that macrophages are essential for combating foreign microbes and pathogens by "eating" them (macro: big; phaegin: eater). This process is called phagocytosis and results in an inflammation. However, a lesser known but equally important function of macrophages is tissue repair, meaning these cells can promote wound healing and cell growth to help recover damaged tissues. Therefore, macrophages are extremely plastic and can easily switch their functions between "killing" and "healing" depending on the body's needs. This plasticity is also the cause of many diseases when the macrophages malfunction, ranging from low-grade chronic inflammation, to autoimmune disease and cancer. In this project, you can perform a literature review on the role of each macrophage mode (pro- vs. anti-inflammatory) in different diseases. You will learn how to 1) understand and critically evaluate scientific data, 2) write a scientific paper, and 3) come up with new ideas and suggestions to design future experiments in order to dissect the unanswered questions in the field.
How will personalized medicine affect the costs of medical care?
Medical care is very expensive at its current state. The outlook in personalized medicine may seem promising, however our current healthcare model may not be able to accommodate such increased expense for lower-income patients. The student may compile the various modes of personalized medicine and engineer strategies on how to implement them in our current healthcare system.
COVID-19: The Virus's Prospective Future
This title is an example of a review article written on a specific topic. Within this objective, you will write a scientific review-style paper about something that particularly interests you. The goal is for you to become proficient in finding, analyzing, and synthesizing existing research. After collecting plenty of relevant data and thoroughly familiarizing yourself with the subject matter, you will construct the review article using effective writing and editing skills. This process will teach you how to critically assess scientific literature and communicate your findings proficiently.
Medicine, Biology, Chemistry
2. Neuroscience Podcast
Work on your scientific communication skills by creating a podcast series to communicate systems neuroscience articles and important findings in a way anyone can understand.
Psychiatry, Surgery, Medicine, Neuroscience
Role of human gut microbiome in human disease
A meta-analysis of current literature on the human gut microbiome on the risk of developing cardiovascular/autoimmune/etc. (depending on the student interest) disease in the [varies/depends on the student interest] patient population.
Future of Biomedicine
Biomedicine and biomedical engineering is a broad interdisciplinary field with nonstop innovation. Students can pick a sector of their interest (prosthetics, diagnostics, implants, biosensors, etc.) and review the state of the field. I will help guide you to resources for background research. Then the student can write what innovations they think will come within 5, 10, 20, or even 50 years from now!
Experimental Methods of Stray Animal Sterilization For Population Control Literature Review
Stray animals pose both animal welfare and public health concerns. Currently, spaying and neutering to sterilize stray animals is the mainstream approach to reducing stray populations. However, spaying and neutering is inefficient in that it requires a large amount of time, effort, and resources to catch feral animals, sedate them, perform surgery, and monitor them post-op. Several organizations have been funding research into more efficient sterilization techniques that are less invasive and more practical. In this project, the student would perform a literature review on the ethical problems that stray animals pose and recently published research in trialing new methods of sterilization. The student is expected to evaluate each new method they come across for advantages and disadvantages such as roadblocks to implementing the method, financial feasibility, and how the method could have future impact on new human birth control options.
Why do cells break?
Every second of every day, the cells in your body are performing millions of tasks to keep you alive and functioning. What systems are in place to ensure that they work correctly so much of the time? What causes them to mess up? What systems are in place to correct errors? What if those systems fail?
Detecting trends in surgical and medical patients
Through chart review, we can collect data on patient outcomes based on their medical and surgical management and detect trends to improve the process of patient care. For example, can we use statistics and AI to determine the difference between stroke patient outcomes by hospital? These are highly publishable projects with promising outcomes.
Social Media, Medical Misinformation, and Covid-19
Social media has positive and negative aspects in our culture today. It also has a large influence on how we consume medical communication. I want to look at how social media is affecting medical misinformation in the Covid-19 pandemic.
Learning a New Skill from the Scientific Literature
I'm happy to work with you to learn about anything you'd like in the realm of data science/computer science, engineering, health care, biology, or policy/politics - I would work with the student to identify a topic of interest and critically read the academic literature. The final product would likely be a literature review, or an explanatory product such as a podcast, tech talk, Youtube video etc. Here are a few examples to get you started - but I'm happy to work on anything you choose and help you refine the project! (1) Studying machine learning algorithms - We would read computer science journal articles together and implement the algorithms we're reading about. Then the student could prepare an article or video explaining their favorite algorithm. (2) Learning about biological research - We would identify a topic (epidemiology of coronaviruses, for example) and read journal articles together. Then the student could prepare a literature review on the studies we read, or a podcast educating the public on their findings.
Biology, AI/ML, Quantitative, Medicine
The Effectiveness of Current ARDS Treatments
In this project, you will create a podcast series to educate listeners about Acutes Respiratory Distress Syndromes (ARDS). A large segments of American public are not trained scientists; therefore, you must translate what you learned through extensive literature research to explain difficult topics about ARDS to the general population without oversimplifying them. Research topics may include: 1. What is ARDS and what causes ARDS? 2. How do doctors diagnose ARDS? 3. Current treatment, pros and cons 4. How is our immune system involved in ARDS? 5. Is ARDS preventable? 6. Current innovations in ARDS research and treatment Additional information: You must establish criteria for this podcast (targeted audience, duration, style, etc.) based on your personal interest to create the best vehicle for public learning.
Water Insecurity in the United States
Global warming and climate change are fundamentally changing the ways that humans interact with water. In the western United States, historic droughts and wildfires threaten the water supply for drinking, household, and agricultural use. In the eastern United States, historic floods and hurricanes have destroyed homes and taken lives. Even the COVID-19 pandemic threatens access to water, with the City of Orlando, Florida urging residents to reduce water consumption as they divert liquid oxygen meant for public water purification to hospitals facing the summer 2021 surge of COVID cases. While the stress and health impacts of food insecurity have been studied by scientists for decades, there has been much less research on water insecurity until recently. That means the field of water insecurity studies is wide open! From literature reviews of ecological and health impacts, to case studies of policies or industry practices, to op-eds, to proposed solutions—we need research projects from diverse perspectives to tackle issues related to water insecurity.
Child Health Policy Analysis
When new legislation is introduced, it is crucial to understand how similar policies have or have not been effective historically. A great project idea for a student interested in public health and policy would be to select a law focused on a specific public health topic (i.e. vaccine requirements, gun safety laws, mental health access). From there, the student can identify exactly what the law was meant to achieve, and then review public health/statistical databases and case reports to help determine if the enacted legislation achieved its desired effect. The student can then review the literature and propose evidence based changes to the selected policy based on this review.
Biology, Psychology, Social Science, Medicine
Effect of blue light reflecting glasses: Do they work?
Blue light reflecting glasses have been alleged to help with eye strain from screens, help with sleep quality, and prevent dry eye. They have become extremely popular after the pandemic due to increased screen time. A review paper could illuminate what evidence exists for whether they do what they claim.
Public Health, Medicine
How to be present in the age of smartphones
Are you part of Gen Z and interested in learning about what role smartphones play in your life? Consider exploring this question and learning about how people's mental health is affected by smartphone use. In this project, you would collect your own data (re: screen time, app use, etc.), analyze your data, and present it in whatever form speaks to you (research paper, podcast, video, etc.).
Biology, Nutrition, Medicine
Does Anyone Know How Birth Control Works?
I want to investigate the knowledge base in a high school setting of birth control in its different forms. I also want to look into how we can better inform students of birth control and general reproduction.
Understanding Neuro-immune Crosstalk
In the past several decades, it has become increasingly apparent that crosstalk between the nervous and immune systems have implications for both health and disease. For instance, microglia (the immune cells of the central nervous system) are known to support processes such as learning and memory, however, activated microglia are a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. An interested student could choose a neurologic disease of interest and investigate the underlying mechanisms relevant to neuro-immune crosstalk. This would involve identification of the cellular signaling that normally occurs and its dysfunction in disease.
What Drives Healthcare Innovation?
The intersection between AI, technology, big data, and medicine draws increasing attention amongst health care leaders. With massive advancements in health data for prophylactic management, telemedicine, and robotic surgeries, healthcare innovation centers are in high demand. Housed in either private industry or academic research universities, healthcare innovation centers drive cross-sector collaboration to advance the art and science of medicine; however, not all innovation centers succeed. In this project, you will interview healthcare leaders from innovation centers across the country, uncovering which factors drive centers to successful innovation and which factors leave centers unable to change the status quo.
Organizational Leadership, Finance, Public Health, Medicine
Cultural Diet & Cancer Susceptibility
Writing a Review - In this project, you will write a paper regarding the nuances of cultural diets and their susceptibilities to various types of cancers. You can focus on one culture or compare and contrast the diets of different cultures. Throughout this process, you will learn how to find and interpret data, analyze results, and how to incorporate primary literature into a review paper all while thinking critically. At the end of this project, you will have the confidence and knowledge of how to write a review based on primary research and will be able to utilize the skills you learned to conduct further research on topics of your choosing.
Biology, Psychiatry, Medicine