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
Projects of this sort would involve conducting and analyzing at least 5 in-depth interviews and/or 2 focus groups to explore in depth how individuals perceive the world around them. Qualitative research of this sort is often used to gain rich understanding of how a specific topic may be further investigated through quantitative research, and also is useful for developing theory, identifying hypotheses, and developing an understanding of topics in new ways. Students will learn how to formulate good interview questions, how to be a good interviewer, how to record and analyze qualitative data for themes, and how to write the results of a qualitative project in a scholarly manner. 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 experiences with long COVID, student experiences with bullying, student experiences with career counseling, student perceived benefits and drawbacks of a career in STEM, and so forth
How do school athletics affect future physical, social, and economical outcomes
Being a student athlete comes with a lot of responsibilities and a lot of personal lessons. From daily practice to weekly matches, athletes must balance a lot. What are the benefits of engaging in athletics in high school and/or college and are there disadvantages? Through reviewing scientific and anecdotal evidence, we will aim to understand how being a student athlete affects your future health, social connections, and economic success. You will be able learn how to review literature, interview relevant individuals, and write a formal literature review on the topic.
Biology, Neuroscience, Psychology
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.
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.
The Future of Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence in Neuroradiology
From automated detection of intracranial hemorrhage to prognostication of stroke patient outcome, machine learning- and artificial intelligence-based tools are increasingly prevalent in neuroradiology. The question remains - how will these tools affect the future of radiology? In this project, the student will conduct a literature review recent advances in AI/ML and make their conjectures about how these tools will impact radiology workflows, patient care, and the future of the field.
Cognitive, Neuroscience, Comp Sci, AI/ML
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
Signals on the Human Body
In this project, you will do a literature review to see what kinds of signals are being measured from the human body in routine clinical care, or promising ideas for new types of measurements. You will pick one (or two) and do a deeper dive on what that signal looks like, what it measures and how to extract meaningful information from it. For example, you can pick the electrocardiogram, and write a review on what doctors use it for, or build a device using components (like Arduino) on the web, or I can send you examples to analyze using Python or Matlab in some way.
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.
Advocacy for the disabled community
Students can learn more about the policy work that has been done for people with disability through a literature review or by creating a blog that advocates for the improvement of quality of life for the disabled community.
Covid Communication: Vaccines
In this project, students will learn the principles of vaccines, including the similarities and differences between the three Covid-19 vaccines currently authorized by the FDA, and the principles of how vaccines impact the immune system. Students will create an output of your choice, either a short video, podcast or review paper outlining the key information regarding how these vaccines work and the pros/cons of each.
Cancer, Ethics, Medicine
You Are What You Eat: A Podcast on the Intersection Of Diet and Skin Health
Many have heard the phrase "you are what you eat" at some point in their lives. However, much fewer know what that means, let alone how to approach implementing meals that promote skin health and dampen signs and symptoms of disease. This podcast applies the science of nutrition and dermatology to popular diets and food myths to provide a more digestible means of eating for better skin.
Application of cryoDRGN for cryo-EM image analysis
Cryo-EM is a revolutionary imaging technique to capture the molecule representation of proteins, though AI is required to denoise and reconstruct the 2D projections of these proteins. CryoDRGN is a recent paper demonstrating improved ability to reconstruct proteins through neural networks, so in this project we will validate the results of cryoDRGN by applying it to another dataset from the EMPIRE database as well as learn the details of neural networks and cryo-EM image analysis.
Create a program to track a fingertip or pen in a video and then draw its path over the original video.
Causality vs correlation - A basic tutorial on causal inference for the public
Causality is the desire of many scientific disciplines. Correlations are easier to analyze typically, but are not equivalent to causation. This is exemplified in the following phrase: "correlation does not imply causation". Causality is typically measured in medicine, policy and science via a randomized control trial, where something is randomized and then its effect on something else is measured. For example, randomizing who gets a COVID-19 vaccine and comparing people with vaccines vs without will determine the causal effect of the vaccine on preventing COVID. Modern causal inference allows one to encode causality as a graph, represented by nodes and edges in a pictorial representation. This enables scientists, policy makers and leaders to not only encode their causal assumptions for a specific problem, but also provide general algorithms for determine if someone can determine a causal effect from purely observations. A break down of graphical notions of causality in laymen terms would be useful for education at the high school and undergraduate level. Successful completion of this project could go on to inspire and educate people on causal inference. A successful project would take the basics of causal inference and break it down into a paper and/or series of short posts that introduce the topics.
Neuroscience, Statistics, Math
Tranexamic Acid as a treatment for drug-induced angioedema
High blood pressure is one of the most common conditions in adults worldwide and medications such as lisinopril are commonly used to treat it. However, some patients develop a dangerous side effect called "angioedema" when they take this lisinopril, which can cause serious complications. In this project we review tranexamic acid as it is used medically to treat such patients and provide rescue therapy for drug-induced angioedema.
Healthcare, Cancer, Medicine
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.
Pediatric Medical Passport
create a concise medical summary that would allow patients with multiple medical needs to share updated information with new caregivers more easily
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
DIY Activity Tracking with a Smartphone
Collect movement data with your own smartphone (or get some friends to help!) and keep an activity diary. Then, make a program that can track those activities on it's own and test how well it works.
Do maternal medications influence fetal development?
Pregnant people are not typically included in clinical trials of new drugs due to an abundance of caution regarding effects to the fetus. However, this has resulted in a lack of information on which drugs can be safely tolerated by the fetus, especially when they are essential to the mother's health (i.e. antidepressants, antibiotics, blood pressure medication). One recent example is the COVID-19 vaccine, which was not recommended for pregnant individuals until several months after being approved for all adults, despite COVID-19 being more severe during pregnancy. In this project, the student will conduct a thorough literature search of all medications which do and do not cross the placenta in order to create a database for other researchers. The output of this project will be the online database and a written report.