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.

People working on laptops
Surgery

The Use of Robotics in Abdominal Surgery

This project focuses on the shift from laparoscopic abdominal surgery to robot-assisted techniques as the field continues to evolve. Important points when it comes to surgery are centered around infection rates, the need for re-operation, as well as clinical outcomes. One specific route that can be studied is infection rates between the two modes of surgery, which can give a sense of the overall safety of the procedure in question. Using the National Inpatient Sample Database, we can quantify infection rates and statistically compare them in order to verify the effectiveness and safety of the procedures. Another method of verifying the data is to conduct a meta-analysis where infection rates published in other papers are statistically analyzed in order to draw conclusions on the safety and efficacy of the procedures. This is only one of the many routes that this research project can take as the field is vast and quickly evolving.

Biology, Surgery, Chemistry, Statistics

Omar
Omar

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, Medicine

Alyssa
Alyssa

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, Neuroscience, Surgery, Medicine

Jianna
Jianna

Socioeconomic barriers to pursuing higher education

Pursuing higher education is a great privilege that many students do not have the resources to pursue. Students can read papers on standardized testing and historical barriers to education and synthesize the information in an essay or creative format like a poem.

Surgery, Medicine

Gabriela
Gabriela

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, Computer Science, Chemistry

Joseph
Joseph

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.

Cancer, Surgery, Public Health, Medicine

Brandon
Brandon

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, Neuroscience, Surgery, Medicine

Jianna
Jianna

Review Article: Exercise Training and Peripheral Arterial Disease

It is generally known that exercise can improve symptoms of peripheral arterial disease (PAD). This project can investigate the existing data and analyze how exercise has been linked to treating patients with PAD, and can seek to determine if a threshold for exercise is associated with improving symptoms of PAD. This can be presented in the form of an essay, scientific research paper, poster, or abstract. Additionally, analogous projects can be created with ideas similar to this one (ie looking at the impacts of exercise on stress, grades, other diseases, etc.).

Biology, Surgery, Public Health

Agastya
Agastya

Mapping the variation in common coffee mug shapes

Coffee mugs come in all different shapes and sizes. Wide at the top or narrow, with a small or large handle, tapered toward the bottom or columnar, etc. If you were to design a new coffee mug, what particular shape would you use? How would you even decide what shape to use? To solve a problem like this, it would be useful to have a "map" of coffee mug shapes. This map would show the principal parameters (that is, axes or dimensions) that define all common coffee mug shapes and show where each of those shapes are in relation to one another. This project seeks to map the variation among coffee mug shapes to create such a map of "mug shape diversity." This project makes use of geometric shape analysis (also known as geometric morphometrics) used to analyze biological shape diversity. This project could also make use of photography and digital modeling in Blender.

Surgery

Aaron
Aaron

Pharmacogenomics 101

Doctors prescribe drugs to treat a variety of health conditions. However, people can vary in how well they respond to the drug, and whether they experience adverse side effects from taking it. In some cases, this is due to genetic variation - i.e., differences in individuals' DNA sequence - and this is called Pharmacogenomics. In this project, you will use the database PharmGKB to identify genetic variants that impact response to commonly prescribed drugs, and evaluate how they impact the drug's biological actions at the molecular level. Through examining biochemical pathways involved in the drug's metabolism, you will gain a deeper understanding of the field of pharmacogenomics, and how genetic knowledge can help inform medical care.

Biology, Surgery, History, Literature, Languages

Emily
Emily

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, Medicine

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

Oral vs. Oropharyngeal Cancer -- Is There a Difference?

Spoiler alert! Yes, there are many differences! In this project you will conduct a literature review on the risk factors and differences between these two very different, but related diseases. This project would culminate in applying for publication.

Biology, Cancer, Surgery, Public Health

Riya
Riya

A new era of medicine--telemedicine: a systematic review and meta-analysis

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an explosion of the use of telemedicine. Patients, physicians, and medical institutions have learned and invested into telemedicine. It is still unknown what patient attitudes may be towards long-term telemedicine use. There are some advantages of telemedicine, such as being more convenient, but also disadvantages, like not having human-to-human contact. This paper can be a systematic review and meta-analysis, which means that students would read through and extract data from existing publications, and "combine" the data from many studies to end up with new data that explains all the included studies. 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. They will also learn skills specific to systematic review and meta-analysis, including using statistical data analysis software.

Cancer, Surgery, Public Health, Medicine

Brandon
Brandon

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, Medicine

Alyssa
Alyssa

Racial Disparities and Preferences in Breast Reconstruction

This project reviews differences and disparities in access to care, type of breast reconstruction, and health outcomes among women who have survived breast cancer. Comparisons will be made based on the patients' racial and ethnic identities. This project offers an excellent opportunity to contribute to a growing body of knowledge on health disparities in order to address an important public health question.

Biology, Neuroscience, Surgery, Healthcare, Public Health

Natalie
Natalie

Creating a 3D interactive web app to demonstrate proper yoga poses

Less than 5% of Americans live a healthy lifestyle, in part due to a lack of exercise. There are many forms of exercise that can be performed at home and at no cost. However, a barrier for many is that they do not know how to perform these exercises properly to avoid injury. Yoga is an example of a free, at-home exercise that can be difficult for beginners to perform. This project seeks to create web app that demonstrates the proper form for basic yoga exercises through an interactive, 3D animated humanoid model. The project makes use of the open source javascript library threejs and the open source digital design software Blender.

Surgery

Aaron
Aaron

Methods to identify the region of brain stroke using different methods of MRI

Various different methods and image acquisition protocols exist for imaging the brain through MRI. This can serve as a crucial way to identify ischemia, blockage of blood flow, in the brain and causing stroke. This project involves researching multiple different types of MRI which can help aid in detecting the specific region of stroke in the brain.

Biology, Cancer, Surgery, Physics

Daniel
Daniel

Health Related Data Analysis

Many reputable sites such as HealthData.gov publish public data that can be mined for significant clinical associations. For example, are you interested in microbiology? We can analyze West Nile Virus ( a rare infectious pathogen) cases in California. We can look at the time of year these cases were discovered as well as the county they were diagnosed. We can then describe any significant findings we find, and build a model that can explain these findings.

Surgery

Omar
Omar

Review of dog-breed associated diseases

Although all dog breeds fall under the same species, breed associated diseases is an emerging field. Are there identified genes for these specific disease? Do newer mixed breeds still get these diseases? Students can read current literature and create a review paper on a wide variety of diseases or focus on a specific breed.

Surgery, Medicine

Gabriela
Gabriela