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.

Can You Grow a Human Heart?

Regenerative medicine is an exciting field of research, especially with emerging stem cell therapies. You could do an in-depth literature review on emerging stem cell trials and present your findings in a podcast format, research paper, or video.

Surgery, Public Health

jacqueline
jacqueline

1. Scientific Review - Systems Neuroscience

Review the literature regarding a topic in systems neuroscience. Learn how to read and understand scientific articles, compile important findings, and predict the future state of the field.

Psychiatry, Surgery, Neuroscience

Jianna
Jianna

Host on Health Disparities

In this project you will explore an area of health disparity -- whether that be in socioeconomic class, race, sex, or another population -- and then review sources that allow you to formulate an evidence-based opinion. Your project will include that opinion and possible solutions, to be featured online in print or via podcast!

Biology, Surgery, Cancer, Public Health

Riya
Riya

Public Health Problem-Solver

In this project you will choose an area of need in public health that interests you, and start a partnership with an organization to create a better solution for a problem they have. For example, working with Project Homeless Connect in SF to reliably and routinely package and distribute basic essentials to houseless community members.

Biology, Surgery, Cancer, Public Health

Riya
Riya

Intro to Research

As a college applicant interested in science and medicine, we want you to discover passion in the sub-fields of science: from astrophysics to zoology. We also want you to discover the leaders in those fields. In this project, we start with 1-2 exploratory sessions finding which parts of science or medicine appeal to you. We then dive into PubMed and spend several sessions breaking down the latest research on the topic - taking notes along the way. We finish by compiling our findings into a writing blog piece that provides numerous leads for independent follow-up and potential mentors at colleges of interest. While apparently ideal for rising 12th graders, this project benefits those high schoolers who think they conduct research as part of their career as a scientist or a physician.

Surgery, Comp Sci, Chemistry

Joseph
Joseph

Mitochondrial diseases: a review of current knowledge and future research

Mitchondrial diseases come in many forms and are rare. Many of these diseases do not have effective treatment and can be devastating. In order to guide future scientists in pursuing appropriate research on mitchondrial diseases, it is important to perform a literature review to see what current knowledge already exists and reveal gaps in the literature where future research must be performed. This paper can be a literature review or scoping review, which means that students would read through existing publications to understand the current state of the literature, and use what they've read to create their scientific research paper. Students will end up with a scientific research paper that can be published to journals and presented at various local and national conferences. They will learn skills of literature review, research study design, data collection, data analysis, manuscript review, and, if applicable, journal submission process.

Biology, Surgery

Brandon
Brandon

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.

Surgery

Alyssa
Alyssa

How does socioeconomic status affect appendix surgery outcomes?

We are beginning to understand that socioeconomic status (SES) can affect many parts of a person's health. It would be interesting to see how SES affects a specific surgical procedure, such as appendix surgery. The data for this project can be collected in a variety of ways, such as from existing, published data. The student would read through and extract data from existing publications, and use that data to synthesize their paper. This paper could take a more qualitative approach, summarizing the current literature and pointing out interesting findings in existing research, or take a more quantitative approach by analyzing complications of appendix surgery by zip code (to correlate SES). Students will end up with a scientific research paper that can be published to journals and presented at various local and national conferences. They will learn skills of literature review, research study design, data collection, data analysis, manuscript review, and, if applicable, journal submission process.

Biology, Surgery

Brandon
Brandon

Synergistic Pain Management for Postoperative Pain

This project will include a brief overview of current postoperative pain management guidelines, the neurobiology of opioid pain relief, and the burden of opioid addiction faced by patients undergoing surgery. The bulk of the project consists of a thorough literature review of pain relief pathways in the brain and research exploring synergistic ways of relieving postoperative pain via neurobiology (such as complimentary receptor stimulation) that may decrease the narcotic requirement for adequate pain relief of postsurgical patients in the future. The literature review will then conclude in information synthesis and a scientific manuscript summarizing the current state of research on pain pathways. The findings are relevant to important topics in addressing the opioid epidemic.

Biology, Healthcare, Surgery, Neuroscience, Public Health

Natalie
Natalie

The Powerhouse of the Cell and Implications for Pediatric Diseases

Mitochondria play an incredibly important role within muscles throughout the body. I want to investigate the role of mitochondria in pediatric diseases, specifically in regards to the diaphragm and breathing. This would be a review type project.

Surgery

Alyssa
Alyssa

The powerhouse of the cell and much much more!

The mitochondria are infamously known as the "powerhouse of the cell" for their ATP generating capabilities from the food that we eat. Although very important, mitochondria are also involved in a much wider range of activities in the cell and the body altogether. Furthermore, when mitochondria do not work properly (i.e. mitochondrial dysfunctional), this can lead the development of various pathologies where mitochondria are becoming favorable targets for drug development. Project Goal: Understand the additional roles of the mitochondria beyond ATP generation (reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation, calcium homeostasis, programmed cell death) and how they may be involved in a physiologic or pathologic context for a review paper you would publish! Prerequisites: High school level background in both chemistry and biology.

Nutrition, Surgery

Alex
Alex

How Genes Work

Pick a genetic condition, such as Danon disease, and learn about the symptomology, treatment options etc. Present your findings in a research paper.

Surgery, Public Health

jacqueline
jacqueline

Anxiety and Depression in High School

I have done previous work on anxiety and depression in graduate and medical students, but I am interested in how early this starts. I want to look into if there are trends we are able to pick up on now, and if there are ways to help change and better these trends.

Surgery

Alyssa
Alyssa

The Role of the Achilles Tendon in Basketball Players

A project like this one can take numerous forms: from analyzing data of Achilles tendon ruptures and how athletes recover after treatment, to trying to assess the relationship between Achilles length and basketball statistics like stride length, one-leg and two-leg vertical, etc. In the latter, we can study the anatomy of the Achilles tendon, the muscles that form it, and its role/function in various movements of the foot and as a supportive structure to other joints in the leg. A student and I can then explore the nature of Achilles tendinopathy (or injury to the Achilles tendon), Achilles tears, what Achilles surgery consists of and what the goals are (focusing on the integrity of the tendon and biomechanics of the repair), and then investigate how athletes perform (those who have injured/torn their Achilles tendons versus those that have not) and develop a very basic recommendation for how to, initially, prevent Achilles injuries and then, if the injury occurs, prognoses following an injury/treatment.

Surgery, Sports Analytics

Alan
Alan

Inspiring Historical Women in Surgery

Have you ever heard of the first female surgeon? Well neither had I. Let's find some incredible female doctors or surgeons throughout history, who influenced who we are today!

Surgery

Alyssa
Alyssa

Speaking from the heart

The heart is arguably the most important muscle in our body and in order to live a long and healthy life we should exercise to strengthen that muscle. There are two main forms of exercise; (i) endurance training (biking, walking, running, swimming, etc.), and (ii) resistance training (strength/weight training). The demand on the body and the heart specifically will differ depending on the form of training. Project Goal: First understand the cardiovascular system in our body and then understand how it may respond the types of exercise in the short and long term. Optional Goal: Perform light, moderate, and heavy exercise while measuring heart rate to understand the hemodynamic response of the heart.

Nutrition, Surgery

Alex
Alex

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.

Surgery

Alyssa
Alyssa

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, Neuroscience

Jianna
Jianna

Developing theoretical pathophysiological models

Many clinical case review studies find significant correlations between risk factors and surgical outcomes (i.e prolonged corticosteroid administration and increased postoperative infections). However, some studies do not have any explanations for these observed clinical patterns. In this project, we will find a case study that finds a significant clinical correlation. We will then conduct a thorough literature search, as well as a deep dive into human biology to come up with a theoretical pathophysiological model to explain these findings. In addition, we may design and outline a prospective basic or clinical study that can assess our model.

Surgery

Omar
Omar

Ethical Considerations of Artificial Intelligence in General Surgery

This project involves a scientific viewpoint manuscript that examines the advantages, disadvantages, ethical considerations, and future directions for the use of artificial intelligence in surgery, with a particular focus on specific fields such as surgical oncology.

Biology, Healthcare, Surgery, Neuroscience, Public Health

Natalie
Natalie