50 ideas to change science: Genetics

6 October 2010

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Read more: 50 ideas to change science forever

After the genome, it’s time for the next level: the interactome and phenome. Expect biotech wizardry and a stream of Jurassic Park headlines along the way

The 1000 Genomes Project

A catalogue of human variation

The mapping of the human genome, largely completed 10 years ago, was a remarkable feat. But if genomics is to fulfil its potential, for example in combating disease, we need to know how much DNA sequences vary between individuals.

Within the next few years we should do. The 1000 Genomes Project, a private-public consortium established in 2008, aims to create a detailed map of human genetic variation. Pilot projects involving 885 people were completed in June this year and identified about 16 million DNA variations, half of them not previously identified. That suggests there may be around 60 million such variations to be found.

The full project, analysing the genomes of 2500 people from 27 populations across the world, is now under way. The growing dataset is freely available online at .


DNA blueprints from the past

Until recently, we thought it would be impossible to decode the genetic blueprint of an extinct organism. In May this year, though, an international team published the full genome of a Neanderthal ( Science , vol 328, p 710 ). What changed?

Faster and cheaper DNA sequencing, mainly. Processing thousands or millions of sequences at once has allowed palaeogeneticists to piece together damaged DNA and discard degraded sections. They can also pull out the 5 per cent from a fossil sample that actually belongs to an ancient species, rather than subsequent bacterial contamination, by matching it up with DNA from a related, extant species. In the past five years, this has delivered genomes for several iconic species including a 40,000-year-old cave bear, a mammoth and now a Neanderthal.

What does this tell us? A lot about our own family tree, for a start. The idea that ancient DNA sequences could be used to revive long-extinct beasts à la Jurassic Park is more fanciful, but we should never say never .


Mapping cellular complexity

Proteins and RNAs, the molecules encoded by genes, rarely act in isolation. Some proteins associate with other proteins, either to regulate them or to form larger cellular machines. Others perform specific tasks by binding to particular DNA sequences, or linking themselves tightly to RNA molecules.

Throughout the 20th century, this incredibly dense web of interactions – dubbed the “interactome” in allusion to the genome – remained impenetrable. In the last decade, however, complete genome-sequence information and increasingly powerful bioinformatic tools have allowed us to generate and analyse draft interactome maps both for humans and for other model organisms.

Although still far from complete, these maps are poised to serve as scaffolds for newly sophisticated models of how cells operate. Since many human diseases can be explained by perturbations of molecular interactions within cells, interactomes will drastically change how we think about human health, and how we set about designing drugs and preventive measures to counter illness. Marc Vidal

Marc Vidal is a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School and director of the Center for Cancer Systems Biology (CCSB) at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston

There’s more to life than genomes

If we want truly to understand the living world, the genome won’t do. We need to get to grips with the “phenome”: the sum total of all traits, from genes to behaviour, that make up a living thing.

If you think that sounds tough, you’d be right. Think about your own phenome. There are obvious traits such as eye colour, height and facial features. Then there are more intangible things such as your metabolic rate, personality, susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease, and trillions of others. All of these came about through the interaction of your genome and your environment, starting from the moment you were conceived.

That complexity perhaps explains why there is as yet no “human phenome project”, though such a thing was first mooted in 2003. But smaller-scale projects such as the Mouse Phenome Database are now springing up. From personalised medicine to our understanding of evolution, science will be the beneficiary.

DNA origami

Life as a template          

The stuff of life is sticky: put the right DNA base pairs together and they bond like Velcro. Take long single strands of DNA and throw in some shorter synthesised strands, and the bonds on the short strands can pull the long strands into specific shapes and hold them all together.

This “DNA origami” technique is one of the most promising of many ways to make molecules self-assemble into 3D structures. It has been used to make a bewildering variety of objects, from toothed gears to 3D boxes with a lock-and-key mechanism. Ultimately, the hope is to use such boxes for drug delivery, and to exploit the folding and unfolding of biomolecules to make nanoscale computer components.

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Genetics articles from across Nature Portfolio

Genetics is the branch of science concerned with genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms. It seeks to understand the process of trait inheritance from parents to offspring, including the molecular structure and function of genes, gene behaviour in the context of a cell or organism (e.g. dominance and epigenetics), gene distribution, and variation and change in populations.

biology projects genetics

Is clonal hematopoiesis ‘mostly harmless’?

Whole-genome sequencing data of individuals from the UK Biobank and Iceland and a somatic mutation barcoding strategy enabled detection of clonal hematopoiesis at scale. This comprehensive study provides insights into the epidemiology, somatic and germline genetics, and disease associations of clonal hematopoiesis.

biology projects genetics

Ancient DNA uncovers past migrations in California

Genomic data from ancient humans who lived up to 7,400 years ago, sampled from across California and Mexico, unveil patterns of migration that could explain how some Indigenous languages spread in parts of North America.

  • Alan Izarraras-Gomez
  • Diego Ortega-Del Vecchyo

biology projects genetics

A deep dive into transmissible cancer evolution in bivalve mollusks

Transmissible cancer affects marine bivalve mollusks worldwide, but how genetic mechanisms influence cancer evolution and disease spread remains largely unexplored. Two new studies provide insights into the ancient origin of founder clones and the long-term tolerance of contagious cancer cells to extreme genome instability.

  • Anna Schönbichler
  • Andreas Bergthaler

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Latest Research and Reviews

biology projects genetics

Context-specific functions of chromatin remodellers in development and disease

In this Review, the authors summarize the biological roles of chromatin remodellers and describe the complex mechanisms that underpin their specific functions, with an emphasis on evidence from large-scale genetic studies.

  • Sai Gourisankar
  • Andrey Krokhotin
  • Gerald R. Crabtree

biology projects genetics

Molecular insights into the VIRESCENS amino acid sequence and its implication in anthocyanin production in red- and yellow-fruited cultivars of date palm

  • Nadia M. Alsuhaimi
  • Nadia S. Al-Kaff

biology projects genetics

Evaluating 17 methods incorporating biological function with GWAS summary statistics to accelerate discovery demonstrates a tradeoff between high sensitivity and high positive predictive value

Evaluation of 17 published functional weighting methods for improving GWAS statistical power demonstrates a tradeoff between high sensitivity and high positive predictive value.

  • Jesse A. Marks
  • Eric O. Johnson

biology projects genetics

Integrating genomic and multiomic data for Angelica sinensis provides insights into the evolution and biosynthesis of pharmaceutically bioactive compounds

A chromosome-level genome assembly for Angelica sinensis var. Qinggui1 combined with metabolomic and transcriptomic analyses provides insight into the pathways involved in the biosynthesis of pharmaceutically important compounds in roots of this plant.

  • Tsan-Yu Chiu
  • Shancen Zhao

biology projects genetics

Evaluation of circulating plasma proteins in breast cancer using Mendelian randomisation

Proteomics of blood samples is a promising avenue for cancer diagnosis. Here, the authors conduct Mendelian randomisation analysis of protein levels across multiple cohorts, and identify 5 proteins that show promise as biomarkers for the long-term risk of breast cancer, and as potential drug targets.

  • Anders Mälarstig
  • Felix Grassmann
  • Åsa K. Hedman

biology projects genetics

Global pathogenomic analysis identifies known and candidate genetic antimicrobial resistance determinants in twelve species

A global analysis of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) across 27,155 genomes and 69 drugs reveals patterns in AMR gene transfer between species and identifies 142 AMR gene candidates, two of which were tested and confirmed as contributing to AMR.

  • Jason C. Hyun
  • Jonathan M. Monk
  • Bernhard O. Palsson


News and Comment

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Audio long read: Apple revival — how science is bringing historic varieties back to life

Genomic studies of heirloom apples could help safeguard the future of the fruit.

  • Christopher Kemp
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biology projects genetics

Age-associated transcriptional stress due to accelerated elongation and increased stalling of RNAPII

  • Antonios Papadakis
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  • Andreas Beyer

Ocular oxidative changes and antioxidant therapy during spaceflight

  • Mouayad Masalkhi
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biology projects genetics

‘Treasure trove’ of new CRISPR systems holds promise for genome editing

An algorithm that can analyse hundreds of millions of genetic sequences has identified DNA-cutting genes and enzymes that are extremely rare in nature.

  • Sara Reardon

Traffic control

  • Grant Miura

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Unit 16: Classical and molecular genetics

About this unit, mendelian genetics.

  • Introduction to heredity (Opens a modal)
  • Worked example: Punnett squares (Opens a modal)
  • Mendel and his peas (Opens a modal)
  • The law of segregation (Opens a modal)
  • The law of independent assortment (Opens a modal)
  • Probabilities in genetics (Opens a modal)
  • Monohybrid punnett squares Get 3 of 4 questions to level up!
  • Dihybrid punnett squares Get 3 of 4 questions to level up!

Variations on Mendelian genetics

  • Variations on Mendel's laws (overview) (Opens a modal)
  • Multiple alleles, incomplete dominance, and codominance (Opens a modal)
  • Pleiotropy and lethal alleles (Opens a modal)
  • Polygenic inheritance and environmental effects (Opens a modal)
  • Non-Mendelian genetics Get 3 of 4 questions to level up!

Chromosomal basis of genetics

  • Boveri-Sutton chromosome theory (Opens a modal)
  • Thomas Hunt Morgan and fruit flies (Opens a modal)
  • The chromosomal basis of inheritance (Opens a modal)
  • Genetic linkage & mapping (Opens a modal)
  • Recombination frequency and gene mapping Get 3 of 4 questions to level up!

Sex linkage, chromosomal mutations, & non-nuclear inheritance

  • X-linked inheritance (Opens a modal)
  • X-inactivation (Opens a modal)
  • Aneuploidy & chromosomal rearrangements (Opens a modal)
  • Inheritance of mitochondrial and chloroplast DNA (Opens a modal)
  • Sex-linked traits Get 3 of 4 questions to level up!
  • X-inactivation and aneuploidy Get 3 of 4 questions to level up!

Molecular basis of genetics

  • DNA (Opens a modal)
  • DNA replication and RNA transcription and translation (Opens a modal)
  • Alleles and genes (Opens a modal)

Biology Research Projects for High School Students: 20 Ideas To Try This Summer

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By János Perczel

Co-founder of Polygence, PhD from MIT

15 minute read

biology research project

Biology and biomedical research are two of the most popular academic disciplines among high schoolers. If you’re someone who’s interested in those fields and you’re looking for research opportunities this summer, you’ve come to the right place! With the study of biology, not only can you gain a better understanding of the natural world, but your research can have practical applications in fields like medicine, agriculture, and environmental science. Whether you’re just starting out in your exploration of biology, have taken a biology class in school, or you’re looking to do some advanced research to submit to your state’s science fair, we have level-appropriate ideas for you!

With a variety of topics like cancer treatment, genetics, neurodegenerative diseases, and marine life, we’ve got you covered. Here is a curated list of 20 different research project ideas to get those creative juices flowing. If you’re hungry for more, head over to our comprehensive Project Ideas database here and browse over 2800 more ideas!  

Research YOUR fave areas of Biology and Medicine

Polygence pairs you with an expert mentor in to create a passion project around biology and medicine. Together, you work to create a high quality research project that is uniquely your own. We also offer options to explore multiple topics, or to showcase your final product!

biology projects genetics

Human Body Project Ideas

Rate of cognitive decline in different elevations.

Oxygen partial pressure decreases with altitude, challenging blood oxygenation which may affect brain function. If you’ve ever felt some altitude sickness, then this is exactly what’s happening. This is because the atmospheric pressure decreases at higher elevations, leading to a decrease in the partial pressures of the gasses in the air, including oxygen. And of course, oxygen is needed for us to function. What is the effect on brain health/ cognition in sudden increased elevation: say, climbing Mount Everest? Does chronic exposure to high elevations increase the likelihood of dementia? In this project, a meta-analysis of published works examining the effects of altitude on cognition would be conducted.

Idea by mentor Alyssa

Building a Blood Vessel

Use online graphics to illustrate how a blood vessel forms. Blood vessels are structures that carry blood and are responsible for transporting nutrients and oxygen throughout the body. There are three main types of blood vessels: arteries, veins, and capillaries. For this project, complete a literature search to understand what is known about blood vessel growth. Then, utilize this information to generate a graphic with no words to demonstrate how the vasculature (network of blood vessels) forms. The goal of this project is to explain science without using text and therefore make it more available to a larger community.

Idea by mentor Natalie

Examining the bacterial profile of various households

As of late, bacterial microbiomes have been a huge and interesting topic in the field of bacteriology as they play an important role in human health. Bacterial microbiomes are communities of bacteria that live on or outside organisms. They’re found in various parts of the human body, and help us to digest food and regulate our immune system. In this project, you will seek to understand how skin microbiomes can differ between different  individuals of different households. This project will require making different bacterial media that can be made at home selecting for various microorganisms. If you’re new to preparing bacterial media, check out this resource here!

Idea by mentor Hamilton

Regulation of Circadian Clocks

Sleep is known to be governed by two distinct processes: a circadian clock that aligns sleep and wakefulness to the solar day and the sleep homeostat that encodes for sleep debt as a compensatory mechanism against sleep loss. You’ve most likely heard about circadian rhythm and our body’s internal clock, and circadian regulation of sleep is a fundamental process that allows animals to anticipate sleepiness or wakefulness consistently every day. These mechanisms can be regulated in multiple ways: at the gene, protein, gene, and clock neuronal level. In this project, we will focus on 1) how to efficiently digest primary and review articles to compile and condense information, 2) investigate how circadian clocks are regulated at these different genetic levels, and 3) try to effectively summarize the information we've gathered. We can present this information in a variety of ways, and what the final product looks like is up to you.

Idea by mentor Oscar

The Biology of Aging

Aging is the number one risk factor for a variety of diseases including cancer, neurodegenerative disease, and loss of hearing/sight. We are only now beginning to truly understand the process of aging and have even started to uncover ways that we could stop, or potentially reverse, the effects of aging. What are the hallmarks/signs of aging? How do researchers study 'aging'? How does human lifespan and aging compare to the rest of the animal kingdom? Is it possible to stop or reverse the effects of aging? What advancements are being made related to this? We could explore these questions or brainstorm others you might have about the biology of aging.

Idea by mentor Emily

Animals, Plants, and Nature Project Ideas

How genetically engineered mosquitoes are reducing rates of vector-borne diseases such as zika.

Many countries are already releasing millions of genetically engineered mosquitoes into the wild every week. These mosquitoes have been modified to reduce their ability to transmit disease-causing pathogens like dengue fever, Zika, and malaria, and are sent into the wild to mate with disease-carrying mosquitoes. However, this is still controversial as some people are concerned about the unintended consequences on the environment. What could be the potential pros and cons for this? The project will mainly focus on doing meta analysis of articles and watching informative videos to understand how/why genetically engineered mosquitoes can be used to reduce rates of different diseases. Students will have the chance to use critical thinking and do in-depth research on genetic engineering techniques, how scientists determine breeding rates and number of insects released, and epidemiology of different bloodborne diseases.

Idea by mentor Vanessa

Efficacy of Marine Protected Areas

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are areas of ocean or coastal waters that are set aside for the conservation and sustainable use of marine resources. These areas are established by governments, NGOs, or other organizations, and they can take different forms, from fully protected "no-take" zones to areas with regulated fishing or other activities. Marine protected areas have the potential to guide sustainable resource management and protect biodiversity, but have a host of reasons for why they are not currently effective. Explore reasons for why MPAs may not be effective. Then develop a framework for mapping, modeling, and implementing an effective Marine Protected Area.

Bioinspiration: Do animals hold the answers?

Can the toxins produced by frogs help us fight antibiotic resistant bacteria strains? How can understanding how lizards and newts regrow their limbs help us improve wound treatment? Why do tilapia skins help with burns? Discover the role of animals in the development of modern medicine as well as its potential. Are there any ethical concerns with these developments and findings? If so, what are they and do they matter? Share your findings in a research proposal, article, or presentation.

Idea by mentor Cheyenne

How Climate Change Can Affect Future Distributions of Rare Species

Climate change, such as global warming and longer drought, can threaten the existence of some of the rarest plants on earth. It is important to understand how future suitable habitats will change for these rare species so that we can target our conservation efforts in specific areas. In this project, you will identify a rare species that you like (it can be animals, plants, or fungi!), and gather the data online on its current occurrences. Then you will learn how to perform species distribution modeling to map its current and future suitable habitat areas. To get you started on learning species distribution modeling, check out this Youtube resource here. The changes in the amount or location of future suitable habitats can significantly affect the destiny of a rare species. By doing this project, you will not only learn skills in data analyses but also become the best ambassador for this rare species that you love. 

Idea by mentor Yingtong

A Reef’s Best Frenemies

Coral reefs are in global decline. A primary cause of this is "coral bleaching" which results in the white reefs we often see in the news. Coral bleaching is actually the breakdown in the partnership between the coral animal and tiny, symbiotic algae that live within its cells. Corals and algae have a variety of thermal tolerances which are likely decided by genetic and environmental factors. However, despite how important this relationship is, it's currently very poorly understood. This project would review existing literature on the symbiotic partnernship and try to identify factors that predict bleaching and thermal resilience.

Idea by mentor Carly

Dive in to BioMed NOW!

Register to get paired with one of our expert mentors and to get started on exploring your passions today! You have agency in setting up your schedule for this research. Dive in now!

Sitting girl reading a book in the field

Diseases and Treatments Project Ideas

The understanding of a new and upcoming treatment: immunotherapy.

Immunotherapies have been growing in the past few years as alternative treatments for many types of cancer. These treatments work by boosting the patient's immune system to fight the disease, however it is not always effective. There are many types of immunotherapies with various nuances, but they all work to attack specific cells that are causing the disease. For this project, pick one of a few types of immunotherapy and deeply understand the mechanism of action and what is the current effectiveness against the cancer it treats.

Idea by mentor Hannah

Exploring The Cancer Genome Atlas data 

There has been an explosion of publicly available data for cancer. The Cancer Genome Atlas was a research program with the purpose of creating a comprehensive catalog of genomic and molecular information about different types of cancer, with the aim of improving our understanding of the disease and developing new treatments. The dataset has been used to identify new cancer subtypes, develop diagnostic tests, and discover potential targets for new cancer therapies. Explore the implications and impact of The Cancer Genome Atlas data, and why it’s become so important.

Idea by mentor Hersh

Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Physiological Benefits of Fasting-induced Autophagy

Autophagy, meaning "self-eating", is a cellular process where damaged or unwanted components are disposed. Autophagy has been linked to various diseased pathologies, including cancer and heart disease. Fasting or specific dietary lifestyles may induce levels of autophagy in the human body. In this project, we will perform and systematic review and meta-analysis of fasting or diet-induced autophagy and its benefits on the body. You will gain skills in 1) searching and reviewing primary literature, 2) computational skills for performing data analysis (R language), and 3) writing your scientific findings.

Idea by mentor Jose 

The Amyloid Hypothesis: Sifting through the controversy

For many years, scientists have thought that amyloid beta was the protein responsible for a patient developing Alzheimer's Disease symptoms. This "Amyloid Hypothesis" is now being questioned in light of current clinical data. Recently, drugs have been developed that reduce amyloid beta in patients. Surprisingly, the drugs worked in reducing amyloid beta, but it did not result in the slowing of disease pathology. Does this mean that the amyloid hypothesis is incorrect? Is amyloid beta less important in the progression of disease then what we once thought? This research project aims to explore the issues with the amyloid hypothesis and to assess where we stand in our understanding of amyloid beta's contribution to Alzheimer’s.

Idea by mentor Patrick

How do vaccines work?

During the COVID pandemic, vaccines have been all over the news! But how do they actually work? What’s the science behind them? Through this project, you will explore how vaccines work and the history of science behind vaccine development. While the final product of the projectwill be up to you, the ultimate goal of this project is for you to be a true public health advocate for vaccines and to be able to communicate why vaccines are so important in a way that the general public can understand.

Idea by mentor Helen

Sleep Disruption Profiles in Various Mouse Models of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer's disease (AD) has been studied for decades but we are no closer to understanding the mechanisms of the disease. Because of the vast number of researchers studying AD, there are numerous models used to study the disease. All these models have different sleep profiles, phenotypes, disease onsets, sex differences etc. Therefore, in this project we will compile a document based on extensive literature review about the various models there are. We will focus on sleep profiles in these animals with an emphasis on male and female differences. This information is valuable because it is important to know which model is best to use to answer your scientific questions and there is a lot of criticism (by other scientists) that can be brought on by the model chosen so you need to be able to justify your choice. This project will also introduce you to the world of AD research and some of the gaps in knowledge in the field.

Idea by mentor Shenee

Rethinking The Treatment Of Neurodegenerative Diseases

Neurodegenerative diseases affect millions of people worldwide. They are conditions that affect the nervous system, particularly the brain and spinal cord, and examples include Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. While billions of dollars have been spent trying to find treatments for the disease, very few drugs and therapies have had a meaningful impact on slowing down disease progression. This is often because by the time someone is diagnosed with a disease, it has progressed too far for a treatment to have a substantial effect. Some recent approaches to treatment have turned to looking for early indications of the disease (termed "biomarkers") that can occur before the onset of symptoms. By diagnosing disease and beginning treatment before symptoms arise, these treatments could have a more profound effect in slowing down the progression of disease. Students could review the recent progress being made on identifying biomarkers for neurodegenerative diseases, and either write a paper or even record a podcast on their findings!

Idea by mentor David

Genetics Project Ideas

Height and genetics: nature or nurture.

How much do your genes determine your height? How much do nutrition and environmental factors play a role? What gene variants are implicated in height differences and what is the role of epigenetics? Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype that occur without changes to the underlying DNA sequence. These changes can be influenced by diet and lifestyle. We will access and analyze an open dataset on twins to estimate the correlation between monozygotic twins (who have the exact same DNA) and height. You will learn to use R to open a dataset, analyze data with statistical methods such the student’s t-test, and display your data as graphs and charts. Finally, you will learn how to make a research presentation on height and genetics, describe the research methods, and present the data in a compelling and thorough way.

Idea by mentor Adeoluwa

The World of Personalized Medicine

Similar to our fingerprints, our genetic code is also unique to each individual person. Our genetic code is what determines our hair color, height, eye color, skin tone...just about everything! For those that develop diseases such as cancer, their genetic code found inside the malignant cells that comprise a tumor may also be unique to them or to certain groups of people with similar mutations (the drivers of disease). So why is it that we treat each person the same way even though the genetic drivers of that disease may be disparate? The world of Personalized Medicine is new and exciting and looks to circumvent this problem. Personalized Medicine (also known as precision medicine) uses the genetic code of a patients disease to guide treatment options that prove to be highly efficacious. Together, lets write a review on a disease of your choice that could benefit from Personalized Medicine based on current literature and research.

Idea by mentor Somer

General Biology Project Ideas

Teach a biology concept two ways: to your fellow students and to the general public.

One of the best ways to learn is to teach. Choose a biological concept that interests you and prepare a lesson and or demo on it. The format should be a video recording of yourself teaching (a la Khan Academy or a Zoom class), but the other details are up to you. Consider incorporating a demonstration (e.g. how can you use items from your kitchen to illustrate properties of mixtures?) or animation (e.g. to illustrate molecular motion). Also consider how you will check that your students understand the concept(s) and/or skill(s) you have taught them. Prepare and record two versions of your lesson: one intended for your peers and one for the general public. How will the versions differ to reflect these different audiences? You will learn what it's like to teach, gain a much greater understanding of your chosen concept(s)/skill(s), and learn how to communicate science to different audiences.

Idea by mentor Alexa

Once you’ve picked a project idea, check out some of our resources to help you progress with your project! Whether you’re stuck on how to cite sources , how to come up with a great thesis statement , or how to showcase your work once it’s finished , we’ve created blog posts to help you out. If you’re interested in doing one of the biology research projects with the help of an amazing mentor at Polygence, apply now ! If you would like some help with coming up with your own idea, book a complimentary consultation call with our admissions team here !

70+ Advanced Higher Biology Project Ideas: Dive into Discovery

Advanced Higher Biology Project Ideas

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  • November 3, 2023
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Unlock a world of possibilities with our curated list of Advanced Higher Biology Project Ideas. Discover diverse topics and embark on exciting research journeys in the realm of biology.

Hey there, biology enthusiast! Welcome to the thrilling world of Advanced Higher Biology, where we get to unravel the secrets of life.

But you know what makes this journey even cooler? The Advanced Higher Biology project – it’s like our chance to be scientific detectives and explore the stuff we’re truly passionate about.

In this article, we’re going to serve up a buffet of exciting project ideas. These Advanced Higher Biology project ideas are not just informative; they’re the kind of projects that make biology feel like an amazing adventure. Let’s jump in!

Table of Contents

Advanced Higher Biology Project Ideas

Check out some of the best advanced higher biology project ideas:-

Genetic Engineering and Crop Improvement

  • Developing Disease-Resistant Crops
  • Enhancing Nutrient Bioavailability in Crops
  • Genetic Modification for Improved Drought Tolerance
  • Investigating Genetic Solutions to Reduce Pesticide Use
  • Enhancing Crop Yield Through Genetic Engineering
  • Crop Plant Metabolic Engineering for Enhanced Productivity
  • Genetic Modifications for Enhanced Pest Resistance
  • Investigating the Role of Epigenetics in Crop Development
  • Genetic Engineering for Allergen-Free Crops
  • Enhancing Crop Shelf Life through Genetic Modification
  • Investigating Genes Responsible for Flavor and Aroma in Crops
  • Genetic Modification for Increased Crop Adaptation to Climate Change
  • Enhancing Crop Nutritional Content Through Genetic Engineering
  • Investigating the Impact of GMOs on Soil Microbiota
  • Genetic Engineering for Reducing Food Waste in Agriculture

Biodiversity Conservation

  • Ecological Impact Assessment of Human Activity on Local Biodiversity
  • Habitat Restoration and Native Species Reintroduction
  • Studying the Effects of Invasive Species on Local Ecosystems
  • The Impact of Urbanization on Biodiversity
  • Wildlife Conservation through Habitat Preservation
  • Monitoring Bird Migration Patterns and Conservation Strategies
  • Examining the Role of Ecotourism in Biodiversity Conservation
  • Conservation of Endangered Marine Species
  • Restoring Riparian Zones for Improved Ecosystem Health
  • Conservation of Coral Reefs and Their Importance
  • Studying the Impact of Climate Change on Wildlife Behavior
  • The Role of Protected Areas in Biodiversity Conservation
  • Investigating the Impact of Pollution on Local Ecosystems
  • The Conservation of Amphibians and Their Importance in Ecosystems
  • Reintroducing Predators to Control Herbivore Populations

Neuroscience and Cognitive Studies

  • Memory Formation and Aging
  • Neural Mechanisms of Addiction
  • Investigating the Effects of Exercise on Cognitive Function
  • The Role of Genetics in Neurodegenerative Diseases
  • The Impact of Sleep on Memory and Cognitive Abilities
  • Examining the Effects of Meditation on Brain Function
  • Studying the Neurobiology of Decision-Making
  • Investigating Brain Plasticity in Response to Learning
  • The Role of Stress on Cognitive Performance
  • Neural Mechanisms of Pain Perception
  • The Influence of Nutrition on Brain Health
  • Exploring the Link between Mental Health and Neurobiology
  • Investigating the Role of Hormones in Memory and Cognition
  • The Neurobiology of Learning Disorders
  • The Impact of Technology on Brain Development and Function

Evolutionary Biology

  • Evolution of Camouflage in Different Species
  • Investigating Coevolution between Predators and Prey
  • The Role of Sexual Selection in Species Evolution
  • Investigating Speciation in Isolated Populations
  • The Evolution of Mimicry in Nature
  • Coevolution of Parasites and Hosts
  • Investigating Hybridization and its Role in Evolution
  • The Evolution of Social Behavior in Animals
  • Studying the Evolution of Antibiotic Resistance
  • Investigating the Role of Genetic Drift in Evolution
  • The Evolution of Parental Care in Birds
  • Investigating the Role of Migration in Species Adaptation
  • The Evolution of Flowering Plants and Their Pollinators
  • Exploring the Evolution of Communication in Animals
  • Investigating the Role of Symbiosis in Evolution
  • focusing on co-evolutionary patterns.

Choosing the Right Project

Picking the perfect Advanced Higher Biology project is like choosing an adventure you’ll embark on in the realm of science.

It’s a decision that can shape your learning experience and research journey in exciting ways. Let’s make this choice fun and engaging. Here’s how:

Follow Your Passion

Start by thinking about what makes your biology-loving heart beat a little faster. The project you choose should be something that genuinely gets you excited.

We’re talking about that topic that makes you want to shout, “I can’t wait to explore this!”

Assess Available Resources

Take a look at what’s in your toolbox. What equipment, labs, or experts do you have access to? Your ideal project should be like a puzzle piece that fits into your resources seamlessly.

Consult with Educators

Don’t hesitate to have a chat with your teachers, professors, or mentors. They’re like your biology Yodas, full of wisdom. They can suggest some amazing project ideas and help you fine-tune your plan.

Consider Real-World Impact

Think big! How can your project contribute to our understanding of biology or even solve some real-world problems? Go for those projects that can make a difference, no matter how small.

Review Project Guidelines

You know those project guidelines your school or institution has? Be sure to give them a good read. Your project should follow these rules and regulations.

Balance Complexity

We all love a challenge, but your project shouldn’t feel like climbing Everest without training. Choose a project that’s just challenging enough to keep you engaged without overwhelming you.


Teamwork makes the dream work. If it’s an option, consider a group project. It can be a blast to brainstorm with peers, divide and conquer tasks, and celebrate together.

Pilot Study

Before you commit, try dipping your toes in the water. A small pilot study or some background reading on your chosen topic can give you a sneak peek of what’s ahead.

Long-Term Interest

Think about the bigger picture. How does your project fit into your long-term goals? The ideal project should be like a stepping stone that gets you closer to where you want to be.

Innovation and Originality

Go for gold in the creativity department. Aim for a project that’s not just a rerun of what’s been done before. Original ideas are like treasures waiting to be discovered.

Ethical Considerations

We’ve got to play fair in the world of science. If your project involves living creatures or humans, be sure to mind your ethics. No shortcuts here!


Keep in mind that your project may change and evolve as you dig deeper. Be open to unexpected twists and turns. Sometimes, it’s the detours that lead to the most exciting discoveries.

So, don’t stress it too much. The right project is like a story waiting to be written, an adventure ready to unfold.

It’s not just science; it’s your chance to explore, learn, and maybe even change the world a little. Get ready for an amazing journey!

What are the top 10 science fair projects high school biology?

Check out the top 10 science fair projects high school biology:-

Green Thumbs Unite

Exploring the Secret of Plant Growth Investigate how different environmental factors, like light, temperature, humidity, or fertilizer, impact plant growth. Get your hands dirty and discover what makes your plants thrive.

Dining Habits

The Food-Animal Connection Dive into the world of animal behavior and health by exploring how different diets, feeding schedules, or water quality affect our furry or feathered friends. It’s a dinner party for science!

Unraveling Genetic Mysteries

The DNA of Life Take a journey into the genes of a particular organism. Delve into the world of inheritance and mutations, and unlock the secrets hidden in the strands of DNA.

Nature’s Drama

Predator vs. Prey, Host vs. Parasite Become a biologist detective and study the intricate relationships between organisms. Investigate how predators and prey interact, or how hosts and parasites co-evolve. It’s like watching a real-life nature documentary.

Chemical Chronicles

Substances and Living Things Test the effects of various chemicals or drugs on living organisms. From plants to animals to cells, discover how different substances can change the game in biology.

Life’s Journey

Organisms and Development Embark on a journey of growth and development. Chart the path from embryo to full-fledged organism or follow the progression of a disease in an animal model. It’s a life story in biology.

Survival in a Changing World

The Impact of Environmental Stress Study how living organisms adapt to environmental challenges like pollution, climate change, or habitat loss. See how physiology and behavior transform in the face of adversity.

Healing Hands

Innovations in Disease Diagnosis and Treatment Get inventive and develop a new method for diagnosing or treating a specific disease.

Whether it’s a cutting-edge blood test, imaging technique, or drug delivery system, you’re the healthcare pioneer.

Crunching Data

Computational Biology Unleashed Enter the world of computational biology. Use computer models to simulate the behaviors of cells, tissues, or organs, or analyze colossal datasets of biological information. It’s biology meets technology.

The Clinical Quest

Testing New Medicines and Devices Roll up your sleeves and design a clinical trial to test the safety and effectiveness of a new drug or medical device. This project requires teamwork with medical professionals, and it’s a real-world test of innovation.

Remember, when choosing your science fair project, pick something you’re passionate about and suited to your experience level. Consider the resources you’ll need and prepare to embark on a fascinating scientific journey. Good luck, young biologist!

What is the best project in biology?

Choosing the ideal biology project is a bit like embarking on an exciting expedition. It should be captivating, challenging, and achievable within the resources and time at your disposal.

Whether you’re a lone explorer or part of a small team of students, the right project can be a ticket to scientific adventure.

Here are some intriguing biology project ideas to get your scientific gears turning:

Unveiling Nature’s Secrets

Environmental Factors and Plant Growth Dive into the world of flora and explore how different environmental factors, such as light, temperature, humidity, or fertilizer, impact the growth of plants. It’s a green-thumbed detective story waiting to be unraveled.

Food for Thought

Diets and Animal Life Investigate how the dietary choices we make affect animal behavior and health. Experiment with different types of food , feeding schedules, or water quality, and observe the impact on our animal friends.

Cracking the Genetic Code

The DNA Puzzle Delve into the genetic makeup of a specific organism. Study the inheritance of traits or the intriguing effects of mutations. It’s a genetic journey into the blueprint of life.

Nature’s Drama Unleashed

Predator vs. Prey, Host vs. Parasite Explore the dynamic interactions between different organisms, like predator and prey or host and parasite.

Observe how their populations interact or adapt in response to each other, akin to watching a thrilling ecological soap opera.

Substances and Living Beings Venture into the world of chemicals and their impact on living organisms. Whether it’s plants, animals, or cells, test the effects of different substances, such as pesticides, antibiotics, or other compounds.

Life’s Unfolding Story

Development of Organisms and Diseases Take a front-row seat to the development of organisms or the progression of diseases.

Chart the journey from embryo to maturity or study the course of a disease in an animal model. It’s like narrating a biological epic.

Organisms and Environmental Stress Observe how living organisms adapt to environmental challenges like pollution, climate change, or habitat loss.

Witness how their physiology and behavior transform as they navigate a changing world.

Innovations in Health

Diagnosing and Treating Diseases Put on your inventor’s cap and develop a groundbreaking method for diagnosing or treating a specific disease.

Whether it’s a novel blood test, a cutting-edge imaging technique, or an innovative drug delivery system, you’re the health pioneer of tomorrow.

Biology in the Digital Age

Computational Insights Harness the power of computational biology to explore a specific biological system or process.

Use computer models to simulate the intricate dance of cells, tissues, or organs, or dive into vast datasets of biological data.

Clinical Trials Unveiled

Testing New Frontiers in Healthcare Roll up your sleeves and design a clinical trial to assess the safety and effectiveness of a new drug or medical device.

This mission requires close collaboration with medical experts, as you venture into the realm of cutting-edge healthcare.

If you find yourself at a crossroads and need guidance, don’t hesitate to seek the wisdom of your biology or science teacher.

They can be your compass, helping you brainstorm ideas and tailor a project that aligns with your expertise and passions.

Once you’ve set your course, dive into extensive research, consult with experts, and craft a precise research question and hypothesis.

Design an experiment that is well-controlled and meticulously conducted. Your journey to scientific discovery is on the horizon. Best of luck with your biology project!

What is the best topic for biology exhibition?

Selecting the right topic for your biology exhibition is like picking the star of a show—it should be intriguing, captivating, and hold the potential to enlighten your audience.

What’s more, it should be a topic that sets your heart racing with passion and allows for a deep dive into exploration.

Here are some exciting biology exhibition topic ideas to get your gears turning:

Biology’s Next Frontier

Unmasking Emerging Technologies Dive into the world of game-changing biology technologies like CRISPR gene editing, synthetic biology, and more.

You can take a deep dive into one of these innovations or venture into the thrilling arena of their societal impacts.

The Tiny Heroes Within Us Embark on an adventure through the intriguing realm of the human microbiome. These trillions of microorganisms have a say in our health.

Explore the latest research in this microbial universe or journey into the realm of how we can harness it to supercharge well-being.

Biology and the Climate Crisis

Adapting to a New Reality Investigate how climate change is rewriting the rules of biology, from reshaping plant and animal populations to influencing human health.

Focus on a particular biological system affected by climate change or uncover strategies to help biology weather the climate storm.

The Avengers of Health Uncover the power of One Health, a holistic approach that connects human, animal, and environmental well-being. You can champion the importance of One Health or venture into a specific mission where it tackles a real health challenge.

Health, Tailored for You

The Marvel of Personalized Medicine Step into the world of personalized medicine, where treatments are custom-crafted for each patient based on their unique genetic makeup.

Discuss the latest breakthroughs in this field or dive deep into the ethical questions it raises.

These are just the opening act, and the main event is your passion. So, follow your heart and pick the topic that makes your inner scientist do a happy dance.

Once you’ve chosen your star, prepare for a thrilling journey of research and an engaging presentation that will dazzle your audience.

What is the best topic for biology project class 10?

Picking the right biology project for your class in 10th grade is like choosing an exciting journey. It should be intriguing, captivating, and well-suited to your level of experience and the resources available to you.

Moreover, your chosen topic should be one that you can thoroughly research and present with clarity.

Here are some captivating biology project ideas that are well-suited for students in the 10th grade:

Unveiling the Green Secret

How Environmental Factors Influence Plant Growth Embark on a plant adventure and explore the effects of different environmental factors, such as light, temperature, humidity, or fertilizer, on plant growth. Watch your green friends respond to nature’s cues.

Dining with the Animals

The Impact of Diets on Behavior and Health Dive into the world of animal behavior and health by testing the effects of various diets, feeding schedules, or water quality on different animals. It’s like serving up a buffet of experiments for your animal friends.

Genetic Whodunnit

Unraveling the Inheritance of Traits Become a genetics detective and study how traits, like eye color or hair color, are inherited in plants or animals. Discover the genetic mysteries that make us who we are.

Mutation Exploration

Unearthing the Effects of Genetic Changes Delve into the world of mutations and explore how they impact organisms. Research different types of mutations and how they can create changes in the world of biology.

Nature’s Partnerships

The Dance Between Different Organisms Study the intriguing relationships between different organisms, be it predator and prey, host and parasite, or competitors for limited resources. Witness the intricate connections that keep the biological world spinning.

Impact of Substances on Living Beings Uncover the influence of various chemicals or drugs on living organisms, from plants to animals to cells. Experiment with pesticides, antibiotics, and other substances to witness their effects.

Life’s Progression

Organism Development and Disease Follow the journey of an organism’s development or trace the progression of a disease in an animal model. It’s a narrative of life in the world of biology.

Surviving Environmental Stress

Adapting to Change Research the effects of environmental stressors such as pollution, climate change, or habitat loss on plants, animals, or even humans. Discover how living organisms adapt in the face of adversity.

Biotechnology’s Impact

From the Lab to Our Lives Explore the various ways biotechnology is transforming agriculture, medicine, and industry. Learn how scientific innovation is improving our daily lives.

Ethical Frontiers in Biology

Navigating the Morality Maze Engage in discussions about the ethical challenges brought forth by recent advances in biology, such as gene editing and cloning. Dive into the moral dilemmas surrounding these innovations.

If you’re uncertain about where to begin, don’t hesitate to reach out to your biology teacher or another science teacher. They can help you brainstorm ideas and create a project that suits your experience level and personal interests.

Once you’ve chosen your topic, delve into extensive research and seek advice from experts. This will ensure you develop a crystal-clear research question and hypothesis and design an experiment that’s tightly controlled.

In a nutshell, the world of advanced higher biology projects is like a treasure chest of exciting possibilities. From playing with genes to understand plant resilience, to untangling the mysteries of who-eats-who in nature, and even deciphering the genetic code, these projects are your chance to explore biology in action.

Think of it as your backstage pass to the greatest show on Earth – the show of life itself! But here’s the secret: these projects aren’t just schoolwork; they’re your ticket to making a real impact, whether it’s making crops hardier, protecting wildlife, or finding clues to human health.

The key is to pick a project that truly fires up your curiosity. It should be a topic that’s like a magnet, pulling you in and making you want to know more. It should be challenging but exciting, like a puzzle waiting to be solved.

So, as you dive into your advanced higher biology project, remember that you’re not just studying life – you’re actively uncovering its secrets. Your project isn’t just a school task; it’s your chance to be a scientist in action.

With this spirit in mind, go forth into your advanced higher biology project. It’s an adventure where you get to ask questions, run experiments, and make discoveries. Ready to start your journey in the incredible world of biology? Here’s to your next scientific adventure!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can i conduct an advanced higher biology project independently.

Yes, you can work on your project independently, but it’s advisable to seek guidance from educators or experts.

How do I access resources for my chosen project?

Utilize your school’s library, online databases, and seek guidance from teachers and professors for resource access.

What is the significance of an Advanced Higher Biology project?

It allows students to apply their knowledge, engage in research, and contribute to the field of biology.

Are there any age restrictions for participating in such projects?

Generally, these projects are designed for students at an advanced level of their biology studies.

Can I choose a project outside the suggested topics?

Absolutely! Feel free to explore unique and unconventional project ideas, but ensure they align with your educational goals and resources.

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Biology Science Fair Project Ideas

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How to Find Science Project Ideas

Plant project ideas, human body project ideas, animal project ideas, researching your science project ideas.

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Science fair projects give you the opportunity to experience science and biology through hands-on activities . In order to ensure that you have a great biology project, it is important that you first understand biology and the scientific method . Simply put, biology is the study of life. Life is all around us which means that there are enormous possibilities when considering a biology science project. We use the scientific method as a means of studying science and biology. Scientific inquiry starts with an observation followed by the formulation of a question about what has been observed. Then comes designing a scientific experiment to answer the question posed.

So where do you get ideas for biology science fair projects? The answer is from almost anywhere. The key is to start with a question that you would like to find an answer to and use the scientific method  to help you answer it. When choosing a science fair project topic , make sure that you select a topic that you are interested in. Then narrow this topic down to a specific question.

Below you will find science fair project ideas primarily related to biology. Remember that these samples are meant to give direction and ideas. It is important that you do the work yourself and not just copy the material. Also, be sure that you know all of the rules and regulations for your particular science fair before you begin your project.

Plants are important to life as we know it. They provide everything from food, clothing, and shelter to medicine and fuel. Plant projects are popular because plants are abundant, inexpensive, and relatively easy to study during experimentation. These experiments allow you to learn about plant processes and environmental factors that impact plant life.

  • Plant-based science projects : Find more than 20 ideas for science fair projects involving plants.
  • Soil chemistry : Learn about soil chemistry with these example projects about plant science and the chemical composition of soil.
  • Popcorn studies : Enjoy these fun, easy, and interesting experiments with popcorn.

If you have ever wondered how the body works or about all the biological processes that keep the body functioning, then you should consider a science project on the human body. These projects allow you to gain a better knowledge of how the body functions and also provide insight into human behavior.

  • Human body projects : If your interest is in biological processes and human behavior, this resource has several ideas for projects on the human body, including the study of the effects of music, temperature, and video games on mood.
  • Kids' neuroscience experiments : This is a nice collection of experiments relating to neuroscience. It includes projects dealing with reflexes, the nervous system , biological rhythms, and more.
  • Human hair projects : Find several ideas for doing projects about hair. Topics include hair growth rates and hair loss management.

Animal science projects allow us to understand various aspects of animal life. They provide information about animal anatomy, behavior, and even provide insight into human biological processes. Before deciding to do an animal project, be sure that you get permission and avoid animal cruelty. Some science fairs do not allow animal experiments, while others have strict regulations for animal usage.

  • Animal projects : Find great ideas for projects involving insects, birds, amphibians, fish, and mammals. Discover how light, pollution, and magnetic fields affect animals.

After you have come up with an idea and topic for your science project, you must research your topic. Research involves finding out everything you can about the scientific principles involved with your project idea. There are several resources available for researching your science fair project. Some of these include your local library, science books and magazines, internet science news sources, and teachers or educators. The most helpful thing that you can do when researching for your project is to take excellent notes.

  • Record references for the books and other materials you have used in your research.
  • Take notes on simple experiments on which to base your experiment. 
  • Keep notes on diagrams used in similar experiments. 
  • Record observations from other experiments.
  • Keep notes on samples of logs and other means for collecting data. 
  • Make lists of materials that you might want to order and their suppliers.

It is important that keep track of all the resources used in your research as these source materials will be required for listing in the bibliography for your science fair project report.

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Genetics Project Ideas

High school level genetics is usually a study of the basics of genetic theory and DNA structure. Though college level classes have the facilities and resources to conduct more advanced, and yet still somewhat basic, projects, high school resources would be more general, and require less intensive involvement on the part of the instructor and students.

One example is the fly lab. Infamous among college students, the lab uses Drosphila flies, a common and fast breeding experimental model, to teach the inheritance of traits. The lab requires constant attention from students, often alternating overnight visits to the lab among partners, and weeks to track the traits expressed by offspring of deliberate breeding crosses conducted in a controlled environment. However, this lab can be conducted by high schools with fewer resources thanks to online resources. One such resource is this virtual fly lab from Western Kentucky University.

On a more basic level of understanding, a genetics science project suitable for high school students is to build a model of DNA. This has many potential directions as students can capture many different aspects of DNA and genetic theory with the model. First, there is the helical structure of DNA. Paying attention to the components and bases, the project could focus on the chemical makeup of DNA or the structural differences between the three different types of DNA or between DNA and RNA. Second, there is how other molecules interact with DNA, and similarly third, what functional roles DNA plays.

These two focal points for the model building project could involve transcription factor binding, the replication fork, transcription and RNA production, helicase activity, polymerase activity, and a number of other snapshots of DNA over the course of cellular activity depending on the curriculum and expectations outlined for the project.

Another area on which a genetics project could focus is on chromosomes. With this focus, both meiosis and mitosis are potential themes along with a general model of chromosome structure. For the structure of chromosomes, histones and the difference between heterochromatin and euchromatin can be modeled. For meiosis and mitosis, models, cartoons, and any other visual representation of the processes are potential directions the student can take.

Karyotypes are another artistic project. These layouts of chromosomes are used to diagnose chromosomal disorders, which can be compared depending on the focus of the project. Down Syndrome (trisomy 21), for example, could be the theme of a project. A karyotype from a person without Down Syndrome can be compared to a person with Down Syndrome. Chromosome 21 can then be further elaborated upon if appropriate. Accompanying information would include basic research on what is currently understood about the disorder and how it occurs, introducing meiotic nondisjunction and mosaicism.

A final idea for a high school genetics project is a punnett square study. Similar to the fly lab and Mendel’s pea studies, the student would choose particular characteristics and breakdown the chances they would occur in the offspring. They can then continue for several generations based on stated assumptions to determine what the allele frequencies of the population will be so many years or generations later. There is an online punnett square calculator to assist in understanding this concept. This is also an evolutionary biology project and can incorporate ideas such as natural selection and Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium. Similarly, a pedigree can be developed to trace the inheritance of a trait, such as those used to track the carriers of hemophilia in families.

In general, the project that is most appropriate for a high school genetics science project would depend on the specific guidelines and curriculum to be followed. There are a number of other genetics concepts that could be used in conjunction with some of the ideas above.

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Education Corner

Top 30 Biology Experiments for High-School

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The field of biology offers a wide range of fascinating experiments that can deepen our understanding of the living world around us. From studying the behavior of cells to investigating the intricacies of ecosystems, biologists use a variety of methods to uncover the secrets of life.

We’ve compiled a captivating list of 30 biology experiments that are both educational and fun and also suitable for a wide range of ages.

These hands-on educational activities will not only deepen your appreciation for the intricacies of life but also fuel your curiosity and passion for scientific exploration.

So, roll up your sleeves, gather your lab equipment, and prepare to embark on an exciting adventure through the fascinating world of biology-based science experiments!

1. Grow a Butterfly

Raise a Butterfly

Students can gain knowledge about the various phases of development, from the egg to the larva to the pupa to the adult butterfly, by studying and taking care of a butterfly during its whole life cycle. This offers students a special chance to learn about the insect life cycle and the metamorphosis process.

Learn more: Elemental Science

2. Dissecting a Flower

Dissecting a Flower

Dissecting a flower can aid students in honing their analytical and observational skills. This may also aid in their comprehension of how a flower’s various components interact to facilitate reproduction, which is the flower’s main objective.

Learn More: How to Dissect a Flower

3. Extracting a DNA

Extracting a DNA

The extraction of DNA is an excellent experiment for high school students to gain a better understanding of the principles of molecular biology and genetics. This experiment  helps students to understand the importance of DNA in research and its applications in various fields, such as medicine, biotechnology, and forensics.

Learn more: Extracting DNA

4. Looking at Fingerprints

Looking at Fingerprints

Exploring fingerprints can be a fun and intriguing experiment. This experiment encourages students to develop their problem-solving skills and attention to detail, as they must carefully analyze and compare the various fingerprint patterns.

Fingerprint analysis is a fascinating and engaging experiment that can spark an interest in forensic science and provide students with a hands-on learning experience.

Learn more: Directions to Examine a Fingerprint

5. Cultivate Bacteria on Home Made Agar

Cultivate Bacteria on Home Made Agar

This experiment provides a hands-on learning experience for students to understand the principles of microbiology and the techniques used in bacterial culture.

This experiment can also help students to understand the importance of bacteria in our daily lives, their role in human health, and their applications in various fields, such as biotechnology and environmental science.  

Learn more: Grow bacteria on Homemade Agar Plates

6. Make a Bioluminescent Lamp

Make a Bioluminescent Lamp

This experiment provides an excellent opportunity for high school students to learn about bioluminescence and the principles of genetic engineering.

Creating a bioluminescent lamp is a fun and engaging way to explore the intersection of biology, chemistry, and physics, making it a perfect experiment for students interested in science and technology.

Learn more: Make Glowing Water

7. Make Plants Move with Light

Make Plants Move with Light

This experiment can help students understand the role of light in plant growth and photosynthesis and the importance of light as an environmental factor for plant survival. 

Learn more: Experiments with Phototropism

8. Test the Five-Second Rule

Test the Five-Second Rule

The “5-second rule” experiment is a simple and fun way to investigate the validity of the popular belief that it is safe to eat food that has been dropped on the ground for less than 5 seconds.

The experiment is an engaging and informative way to explore the science behind a common belief and promote critical thinking and scientific inquiry among students.

Learn more: Five Second Rule

9. Examine How Antibiotics Affect Bacteria

Examine How Antibiotics Affect Bacteria

This experiment is an excellent opportunity for high school students to develop their laboratory skills, such as aseptic technique and bacterial culture, and understand the principles of antibiotic resistance and its implications for human health.

Examining how antibiotics affect bacteria is a fascinating and educational experiment that promotes scientific inquiry and critical thinking among students.

Learn more: Learn About Bacteria

10. Look for Cell Mitosis in an Onion

Look for Cell Mitosis in an Onion

This experiment is an excellent opportunity for high school students to develop their microscopy skills and understand the biological basis of growth and development in plants. This experiment is a fun and informative way to explore the world of cells and their role in the growth and development of living organisms.

Learn more: Onion Root Mitosis

11. Test the Effects of Disinfectants

Test the Effects of Disinfectants

Testing the effects of disinfectants is an important process in determining their efficacy in killing or reducing the number of microorganisms on a surface or object. Disinfectants can be hazardous if not used correctly, and testing their effects can help students understand how to use them safely.

Students can learn about proper handling techniques and how to interpret safety labels and warning signs.

Learn more: Antiseptic and Disinfectants

12. Microwave Seed Gardening

Microwave Seed Gardening

Microwave seed gardening is a quick and efficient method of germinating seeds, microwave seed gardening can be a useful method for starting seeds, but it should be used with care and in conjunction with other germination methods to ensure the best possible results. 

Learn more: Microwave plant

13. Water Bottle Bacteria Swab

Water Bottle Bacteria Swab

This experiment can be a fun and informative way to learn about the importance of keeping water bottles clean and free from harmful bacteria. It can also be used to compare the cleanliness of different types of water bottles, such as metal, plastic, or glass.

Learn more: Swabbing Water Bottles

14. Frog Dissection

Frog Dissection

Frog dissection can be a valuable tool for teaching anatomy and physiology to high school students, as it provides a comprehensive examination of the internal organs and systems of the frog.

Dissection can be a valuable and engaging experiment for high school students interested in biology and life science.

Learn more: Frog Dissection

15. Witness the Carbon Cycle in Action

Witness the Carbon Cycle in Action

By witnessing the carbon cycle in action, learners can gain a better understanding of the interconnectedness of different parts of the Earth’s system and the impact that human activities can have on these processes.

Learn more: Carbon Cycle Lab

16. Investigate the Efficacy of Types of Fertilizer

Investigate the Efficacy of Types of Fertilizer

Investigating the efficacy of different types of fertilizer can be an interesting and informative way to learn about plant growth and nutrition. Investigating the efficacy of different types of fertilizer is a practical and engaging way to learn about plant nutrition and the role of fertilizers in agriculture.

Learn more: Best Fertilizer

17. Explore the Impact of Genetic Modification on Seeds

Explore the Impact of Genetic Modification on Seeds

Exploring the impact of genetic modification on seeds is a fascinating and relevant topic that can spark meaningful discussions and encourage learners to think critically about the role of science and technology in society.

Learn more: Genetically Modified (GM) Crops

18. Yeast Experiment

Yeast Experiment

Another easy to perform experiment for high school students is the yeast. This experiment is simple since all that is required is the removal of four different food samples onto separate plates and a thorough examination of the mold that develops on each sample over time.

Learn more: Grow Yeast Experiment

19. Taste Perception 

Taste Perception

The human tongue has specialized taste receptors that respond to five primary tastes: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami (savory). Taste perception plays an important role in determining food preferences and dietary habits, as well as influencing the overall eating experience.

Learn more: Taste perception

20. Pea Plant Genetics

Pea Plant Genetics

A classic pea plant genetics experiment involves cross breeding pea plants with different traits, such as flower color, seed shape, or pod shape.

This experiment can be conducted in a controlled environment, such as a greenhouse, by manually transferring pollen from one plant to another.

Learn more: Gregor Mendel Pea Experiment

21. Comparing Animal and Plant Cells

Comparing Animal and Plant Cells

Comparing animal and plant cells is an important exercise in biology education. Both animal and plant cells are eukaryotic cells, meaning they contain a nucleus and other membrane-bound organelles.

This exercise can help students understand the structure and function of cells, as well as appreciate the diversity of life on Earth.

Learn more: Comparing Plant Cell and Animal Cell

22.  Testing Bacteria 

 Testing Bacteria 

Bacteria are easily accessible and can be grown in a laboratory or even at home with simple equipment and materials. This makes it a practical and cost-effective experiment for schools with limited resources.

Learn more: How to grow Bacteria and more

23. The Effect of Light on Growth

The Effect of Light on Growth

Light is a fundamental environmental factor that plays a crucial role in the growth and development of plants. By conducting this experiment, students can gain a deeper understanding of how light affects plant growth and why it is important.

Learn more: The effect of light in Plant Growth

24. Planaria Regeneration

Planaria Regeneration

Planaria regeneration allows students to design their own experiments, as they can choose which body parts to remove and study the effects of different variables, such as temperature, pH, or chemical treatments on the regeneration process.

Planaria are easy to obtain and maintain in a laboratory or classroom setting. They are also affordable, making it an ideal experiment for schools with limited resources.

Learn more: Planaria Experiment

25. Making a Seed Board

Making a Seed Board

Making a seed board can be a fun and engaging activity for students, as they can see the progress of their plants over time and share their results with others. It can also foster a sense of responsibility and ownership in caring for their plants.

26. Design an Owl Pellet

Design an Owl Pellet

Dissecting an owl pellet provides a hands-on learning experience for students, allowing them to practice skills in scientific observation, data collection, and analysis. Students can also learn about the anatomy of the prey species found in the owl pellet.

27. Grow an Herbal Cutting

Grow an Herbal Cutting

Growing an herb cutting provides a hands-on learning experience for students, allowing them to practice skills in plant care, experimental design, and data collection. Students can learn about the different stages of plant growth and the factors that affect it.

28. Eat a Cell Model

Eat a Cell Model

Creating an edible cell model connects to various disciplines, such as biology, anatomy, and nutrition. Students can learn about the different organelles that make up a cell and their functions, as well as the nutritional value of the food materials used in the model

29. Make a Habitat Diorama

Make a Habitat Diorama

Making a habitat diorama provides a hands-on learning experience for students, allowing them to practice skills in research, creative design, and presentation. Students can learn about different ecosystems and the organisms that inhabit them.

30. Create a Fall Leaf (or Signs of Spring) Journal

Create a Fall Leaf (or Signs of Spring) Journal

Creating a fall leaf (or signs of spring) journal provides a hands-on learning experience for students, allowing them to practice skills in observation, data collection, and analysis. Students can learn about the changes that occur in nature during the fall or spring season.

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35+ Fascinating Biology Project Ideas to Ignite Your Scientific Curiosity

Biology Project Ideas

Are you a biology enthusiast in search of exciting project ideas to delve deeper into the captivating world of living organisms? Look no further! In this blog, we have compiled a diverse list of 10 fascinating biology project ideas that will spark your scientific curiosity and propel your understanding of the intricate mechanisms of life.

Embark on a journey of discovery as you explore the wonders of biology with these captivating project ideas. Unleash your creativity, develop critical thinking skills, and delve into the fascinating intricacies of life itself. So, let’s dive in and explore the realm of biology with these 10 thought-provoking project ideas that will elevate your scientific exploration to new heights!

What is Biology?

Table of Contents

Biology is the scientific study of living organisms and their interactions with their environment. It is a branch of science that focuses on understanding the structure, function, growth, evolution, and distribution of living organisms. The field of biology encompasses a wide range of topics, from the molecular level, examining the building blocks of life, to the study of ecosystems and the complex interactions between organisms.

Biology is an incredibly diverse field, with various sub-disciplines that focus on specific aspects of life. These include molecular biology, genetics, microbiology, ecology, physiology, and many more. Researchers in biology employ a wide array of techniques, ranging from microscopic observation and laboratory experiments to advanced technologies such as DNA sequencing and computational modeling.

Importance of Biology Project

Biology projects play a crucial role in education and scientific exploration by providing hands-on learning experiences and fostering a deeper understanding of biological concepts. 

Here are some key reasons highlighting the importance of biology projects:

Practical Application: Biology projects allow students and researchers to apply theoretical knowledge to real-world scenarios. By engaging in experiments, data collection, and analysis, project participants gain a practical understanding of biological principles and concepts.

Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving Skills: Biology projects require students to think critically, formulate hypotheses, design experiments, and interpret results. This cultivates essential problem-solving skills, analytical thinking, and scientific reasoning abilities that are applicable in various academic and professional contexts.

Experiential Learning: Biology projects provide hands-on experiences that go beyond textbooks and lectures. They offer a chance to actively explore biological phenomena, conduct experiments, and make observations. This experiential learning approach enhances retention and deepens comprehension of the subject matter.

Personalized Learning: Projects offer flexibility and allow students to pursue areas of personal interest within the vast field of biology. This individualized approach fosters a sense of ownership and motivation, as students can explore topics that resonate with their curiosity and passions.

Collaboration and Communication: Biology projects often involve teamwork, encouraging collaboration, communication, and the exchange of ideas. Students learn to work effectively in groups, share responsibilities, and present their findings, developing essential interpersonal and communication skills.

Scientific Methodology: Engaging in biology projects familiarizes students with the scientific method, including formulating hypotheses, designing experiments, collecting data, analyzing results, and drawing conclusions. These foundational scientific skills are transferrable to other scientific disciplines and provide a framework for future research endeavors.

Innovation and Creativity: Biology projects encourage innovation and creativity by allowing students to explore new ideas, develop novel approaches, and find unique solutions to scientific questions. This fosters an entrepreneurial mindset and prepares students to tackle real-world challenges in the ever-evolving field of biology.

Career Exploration: Biology projects provide a glimpse into various career paths within the biological sciences. By undertaking projects, students can explore different areas of biology and gain insights into potential future careers, helping them make informed decisions about their academic and professional trajectories.

How To Find The Right Biology Project Ideas

Finding the right biology project ideas can be an exciting and rewarding process. Here are some steps you can follow to discover project ideas that align with your interests and goals:

Identify your interests: Start by reflecting on your personal interests within the field of biology. Consider which topics or aspects of biology intrigue you the most. Are you fascinated by genetics, ecology, cellular biology, or microbiology? Identifying your interests will help narrow down the scope of potential project ideas.

Research current trends and advancements: Stay updated with the latest developments and trends in biology. Read scientific journals, browse reputable websites, and follow biology-related news to learn about recent discoveries and breakthroughs. This will inspire you and give you ideas for projects that are at the forefront of scientific exploration.

Consult with your instructor or mentor: Seek guidance from your biology teacher, professor or a mentor who can provide valuable insights and suggestions. They have a wealth of knowledge and experience in the field and can help steer you in the right direction. Share your interests and goals with them, and they can offer guidance on project ideas that align with your strengths and the resources available to you.

Brainstorm and make a list: Set aside dedicated time to brainstorm project ideas. Grab a pen and paper or use a digital document to jot down any potential ideas that come to mind. Don’t worry about evaluating them at this stage—simply let your creativity flow and write down any biology-related topics or questions that pique your interest.

Explore existing projects: Look for inspiration from previous biology projects that have been conducted by students or researchers. Search online databases, science fair websites, or scientific journals to find examples of biology projects. Analyze these projects to understand their methodology, scope, and findings. This can spark new ideas or provide a foundation upon which you can build your own unique project.

Consider available resources and constraints: Take into account the resources and constraints that you have access to. This includes laboratory equipment, materials, time, and expertise. Ensure that your project idea is feasible within the given constraints. If certain resources are not readily available, think creatively about alternative approaches or seek assistance from your instructor or mentor.

Collaborate with peers: Engage in discussions with fellow biology enthusiasts, classmates, or friends who share similar interests. Brainstorm project ideas together, bounce off ideas, and offer feedback to one another. Collaborative thinking can often lead to new and innovative project ideas that you may not have considered on your own.

Prioritize feasibility and impact: Evaluate your list of potential project ideas based on their feasibility and potential impact. Consider the resources required, the level of complexity, and the relevance of the project to current scientific knowledge. Choose an idea that is achievable within the given time frame and has the potential to contribute to the field of biology or address a specific research question.

30+ Biology Project Ideas

1. Investigating the effects of different types of fertilizers on plant growth: Compare the growth and health of plants treated with different fertilizers or organic matter.

2. Studying the impact of temperature on enzyme activity: Determine how temperature affects the activity of an enzyme by conducting experiments at different temperatures.

3. Examining the effectiveness of natural remedies in inhibiting bacterial growth: Test the antimicrobial properties of various natural substances, such as garlic, honey, or tea tree oil, against common bacteria.

4. Investigating the impact of pH on the rate of photosynthesis: Explore how different pH levels affect the rate of photosynthesis in aquatic plants.

5. Analyzing the effect of different light wavelengths on plant growth: Observe how plants respond to different colors of light and determine which wavelengths are most beneficial for growth.

6. Investigating the factors affecting seed germination: Explore the influence of variables like light, temperature, water availability, and seed treatments on seed germination rates.

7. Examining the effect of caffeine on heart rate: Determine the impact of caffeine on heart rate by conducting experiments with different concentrations of caffeine on a small organism like a daphnia.

8. Studying the impact of pollution on aquatic organisms: Investigate the effects of pollutants (e.g., heavy metals, pesticides) on the health and behavior of aquatic organisms, such as fish or invertebrates.

9. Analyzing the biodiversity and abundance of microorganisms in different soil samples: Collect soil samples from various locations and study the microbial communities present using techniques like culturing or DNA analysis.

10. Investigating the effects of different music genres on plant growth: Expose plants to different genres of music and observe if there are any discernible effects on growth.

11. Studying the impact of different antibiotics on bacterial growth: Test the effectiveness of various antibiotics against different strains of bacteria using agar plates and measuring zones of inhibition.

12. Analyzing the effectiveness of natural insect repellents: Test the repellent properties of natural substances, such as citronella, eucalyptus , or lavender, against common insects like mosquitoes or fruit flies.

13. Investigating the influence of exercise on heart rate recovery: Measure heart rate before and after exercise to study how quickly the heart rate returns to resting levels.

14. Examining the effect of temperature on the hatching success of eggs: Incubate eggs at different temperatures to determine the optimal range for successful hatching.

15. Analyzing the impact of different types of water (tap water, bottled water, etc.) on plant growth: Monitor the growth and health of plants watered with different types of water sources.

16. Investigating the effects of different food preservatives on microbial growth: Test the antimicrobial properties of various food preservatives by measuring the growth of microorganisms in treated samples.

17. Studying the impact of light intensity on the rate of photosynthesis: Measure the rate of oxygen production by aquatic plants exposed to different light intensities.

18. Analyzing the effect of temperature on the respiration rate of yeast: Measure the carbon dioxide production by yeast at different temperatures to study the influence on respiration.

19. Investigating the impact of pollution on plant pigments: Expose plants to pollutants and measure changes in leaf pigments, such as chlorophyll, as an indicator of stress.

20. Studying the effect of different types of soil on plant growth: Compare the growth and health of plants grown in different soil types, such as sandy soil, clay soil, or loamy soil.

21. Analyzing the impact of electromagnetic radiation on seed germination: Expose seeds to various forms of radiation (e.g., microwaves, UV light) and observe their germination rates compared to control groups.

22. Investigating the effects of different light cycles on circadian rhythms in organisms: Study how changes in light-dark cycles affect the behavior and physiology of organisms with circadian rhythms.

23. Analyzing the impact of microplastics on aquatic organisms: Examine the effects of microplastic pollution on the growth, development, and behavior of aquatic organisms like fish or zooplankton.

24. Investigating the effects of different concentrations of carbon dioxide on plant growth: Manipulate carbon dioxide levels in a controlled environment and measure the growth response of plants.

25. Studying the impact of various water pollutants on the health of aquatic plants: Expose aquatic plants to different pollutants, such as heavy metals or pesticides, and observe their growth and physiological responses.

26. Analyzing the effect of different fruit juices on tooth enamel erosion: Immerse tooth samples in various fruit juices and observe the effects on enamel erosion using techniques like surface analysis or microscopy.

27. Investigating the influence of temperature on insect behavior: Observe the behavior of insects, such as ants or bees, under different temperature conditions to understand their activity patterns and preferences.

28. Studying the impact of different types of food on microbial fermentation: Measure the production of gases (e.g., carbon dioxide) during the fermentation of different food substrates by microorganisms.

29. Analyzing the effect of environmental factors on seed viability: Investigate how factors like temperature, humidity, or light exposure affect the viability and germination success of seeds.

30. Investigating the effects of different levels of salinity on plant growth: Expose plants to varying levels of salt concentration and monitor their growth, physiology, and ion balance.

31. Studying the impact of pH on the growth and health of aquatic organisms: Manipulate pH levels in aquatic environments and observe the responses of organisms like fish, snails, or algae.

32. Analyzing the effect of different natural dyes on bacterial growth inhibition: Test the antimicrobial properties of various natural dyes (e.g., turmeric, beetroot) against different strains of bacteria.

33. Investigating the influence of different pollutants on air quality: Measure air quality parameters, such as particulate matter or ozone levels, in different environments and analyze the potential sources of pollution.

34. Studying the impact of different antibiotics on beneficial gut bacteria: Investigate the effects of antibiotics on the growth and diversity of beneficial bacteria in the gut using microbial culture or DNA sequencing techniques.

35. Analyzing the effect of temperature on the metabolism of cold-blooded organisms: Measure metabolic rates in reptiles or amphibians at different temperatures to understand their physiological adaptations.

36. Investigating the effects of different concentrations of pollutants on seed germination: Expose seeds to varying concentrations of pollutants (e.g., heavy metals) and monitor their germination rates and early growth.

37. Studying the impact of different water temperatures on the behavior of aquatic organisms: Observe the behavioral responses of organisms like fish or crustaceans when exposed to different water temperatures.

38. These project ideas cover a broad range of topics within biology and provide opportunities for exploration, experimentation, and discovery. Remember to choose a project that aligns with your interests, available resources, and educational level.

Importance of Choosing the right Biology Project Ideas 

Choosing the right biology project ideas is crucial for a successful and rewarding experience. Here are some key reasons highlighting the importance of selecting the right project idea:

  • Relevance and Interest: Choosing a project idea that aligns with your interests and curiosity ensures that you stay engaged and motivated throughout the project. When you are genuinely interested in the topic, you are more likely to invest time and effort into research, experimentation, and analysis.
  • Personalized Learning: The right project idea allows you to delve deeper into specific aspects of biology that fascinate you. It gives you the opportunity to explore your chosen subject in greater detail and develop a deeper understanding of the underlying concepts and principles.
  • Skill Development: A well-chosen project idea provides opportunities to develop and enhance various skills. These may include critical thinking, problem-solving, experimental design, data analysis, and scientific communication. By selecting a project that challenges you and requires the application of these skills, you can further refine your abilities.
  • Real-World Applications: Biology projects often have practical applications and relevance to real-world issues. Choosing a project idea that addresses a current problem or explores a topic of significance allows you to contribute to scientific knowledge and potentially make an impact in areas such as medicine, environmental conservation, or agriculture.
  • Resource Availability: Consider the resources available to you, such as laboratory equipment, materials, and mentorship. Choosing a project idea that is feasible within the constraints of available resources ensures that you can successfully execute the project and achieve meaningful results.
  • Educational Goals: Biology projects provide opportunities to meet specific educational objectives. They can align with curriculum requirements, learning outcomes, or the development of specific laboratory techniques. By choosing a project idea that supports your educational goals, you can enhance your academic progress and demonstrate your understanding of key concepts.
  • Future Endeavors: Selecting the right project idea can have a long-term impact on your educational or professional journey. It can help you explore potential career paths, develop specialized knowledge, or build a foundation for further research in a specific area of biology. The skills and experiences gained from a well-executed project can be valuable in future academic pursuits or when pursuing a career in the biological sciences.

Ultimately, choosing the right biology project idea is about maximizing your learning, engagement, and growth. It allows you to immerse yourself in a topic you are passionate about, develop essential skills, and contribute to the broader scientific community. Take the time to evaluate and select a project idea that excites you and aligns with your goals and available resources.

In conclusion, choosing the right biology project ideas is of utmost importance for a fulfilling and successful experience. By selecting a project that aligns with your interests, you foster a genuine curiosity and motivation to explore the topic further. This personal connection to the project drives engagement, allowing you to dive deep into the subject matter and develop a deeper understanding of the underlying concepts.

So, take the time to evaluate your interests, consider the available resources, and select a biology project idea that excites you. Embrace the opportunity to delve into the fascinating world of biology, expand your knowledge, and make a meaningful contribution to the field.

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BIO284 Genetics Laboratory uTA for Spring 2024

In the Genetics Laboratory, BIO284, Undergraduate TAs learn teaching techniques, increase their understanding of fundamental Genetics material and techniques, and strengthen their hands-on skills and confidence by assisting with lab sections, offering direct student peer support, and meeting weekly with undergraduate and graduate TAs to discuss and implement best practices in this interesting lab course.

You will need to be able to commit to a minimum of one full afternoon per week. Each lab section is held one afternoon per week. In the Spring semester, the course is held in 2 separate lab sections from 1:00 pm to 5:00pm. One lab section will meet on Tuesday and the second lab section on Thursday. Prospective TAs able to assist with breakdowns and setups on Fridays are also encouraged to apply.)

You will be required to prepare in advance for each lab period by reviewing protocols and materials that students will be responsible for during that day’s activities. 

To become an UTA for this course, you should have completed a Genetics Laboratory, or highly related course, at UMass in a previous semester. You will be required to attend the lab section(s) every week as well as a weekly TA meeting. You should have an above-average understanding of Genetics Lab techniques (and these can include pipetting, DNA isolation, PCR, Gel electrophoresis, yeast or cell culture, sterile technique, and any Bioinformatics skills such as reading and working with DNA sequencing results). 

UTAs will attend one or two lab sections each week and assist the graduate TA and Lab Support staff with locating supplies, answering student questions, demonstrating proper technique, discussing experimental design and data analysis, and providing moral support and motivation for students in their section. An atmosphere of enthusiasm for biology and the work at hand can motivate students and improve the lab experience 

Being an undergraduate teaching assistant will allow you to gain confidence, learn more about teaching, share knowledge, connect with other students, and prepare for other leadership roles. This experience will require you to re-learn the material covered in the course in order to explain and teach it to others. You will get to know graduate students in different graduate programs at UMass as well as laboratory staff and faculty members.

To be a successful applicant you must be someone who is enthusiastic about working hard and helping your peers, and you must have good teamwork and communication skills.

  • Apply for this position through the BUA site. See for instructions.
  • In your BUA application materials, please indicate why you're interested in this position, the strengths you bring to your work as a UTA, and what you think UTAs in this course should do to help all students succeed
  • ​​For your application to be complete, please fill out this form indicating your availability:
  • If you have any questions or difficulties with the form, please contact us at: [email protected] and [email protected]

Students will receive a minimum of 2 credits for supporting either 1 or 2 lab sections (a minimum of ~5-7 hours of work each week will be needed to support one lab section). 

Genetics :)


How gut microbes help alleviate constipation

Scientists have identified the genes in the probiotic Bifidobacteria longum responsible for improving gut motility. A research team reporting November 21 st in the journal Cell Host & Microbe found that B. longum strains possessing the abfA cluster of genes can ameliorate constipation through enhanced utilization of an indigestible fiber called arabinan in the gut.

"We established the causal link between a genetic variant -- the abfA cluster -- to the key functional difference of probiotic B. longum in multiple model organisms, including mice and humans, and provided mechanistic and ecological insights into how a single gene cluster can affect the gut motility of hosts through arabinan metabolism," says Qixiao Zhai of Jiangnan University, one of the paper's co-senior authors. Constipation is a globally prevalent bowel disorder with a worldwide prevalence of 10% to 15%. Impaired gastrointestinal motility has been implicated in gut microbial dysbiosis, which is characterized by a significant decrease in the abundance of beneficial microorganisms, some of which are conventionally known as probiotics. Orally administrated probiotics have therefore been widely used to alleviate symptoms.

Yet the therapeutic effect of probiotics for constipation often varies substantially across strains within the same species. Due to elusive mechanisms, the rational choice of probiotic remains challenging for medical care professionals and patients. In addition, most evidence on the beneficial effects of probiotics on gut motility mainly emerged from studies using a mouse model.

"Probiotic strains were often effective in animal models yet failed in human clinical trials or were poorly validated in humans," says Jiachao Zhang of Hainan University, the study's second co-senior author. "Proof-of-concept studies based on a human cohort in combination with evidence from animal studies are urgently needed for translational research."

Zhai, Zhang, and Shi Huang of the University of Hong Kong, the paper's third co-senior author, set out to identify and systematically validate the key genetic factors of exogenous probiotics or resident gut microbiota affecting gastrointestinal motility. They isolated 185 B. longum strains from 354 Chinese subjects who ranged in age from 0 to 108 years.

From a comprehensive library of wild B. longum strains, they discovered that the effective alleviation of constipation in mice is regulated by the abfA cluster. This key genetic factor preferentially enhances the utilization of arabinan -- a common constituent of plant polysaccharides, an indigestible fiber for humans, and a poorly accessible source of nutrients for normal gut microbes.

The researchers further validated the abfA cluster's functional roles using gene-knockout experiments. In mice with constipation, B. longum , but not an abfA mutant, improved gastrointestinal transit time -- an effect that was dependent upon dietary arabinan.

To establish its functional roles for ameliorating constipation in humans, the researchers used a clinical trial and a human-to-mouse fecal microbiota transplantation experiment in combination with metagenomics and metabolomics. In the double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial, supplementation with abfA- cluster-carrying B. longum , but not an abfA -deficient strain, enriched arabinan-utilization residents, increased beneficial metabolites, and improved constipation symptoms.

Across human cohorts, abfA -cluster abundance in the fecal microbiomes predicted constipation, and transplantation of abfA cluster-enriched human microbiota to mice with constipation improved gut motility. Notably, other than B. longum , the abfA gene/cluster is prevalent in gut residents, regulating symptoms in both mice and humans.

The authors say that the abfA cluster is a gut-microbiome therapeutic target for constipation in humans. More broadly, the results suggest that genetic factors governing the unique metabolic capability of probiotics should be primarily considered for screening probiotics or inferring their treatment efficacy for gastrointestinal diseases.

"Collectively, this study identified and systematically characterized a key genetic factor responsible for arabinan utilization that addressed one critical challenge in the probiotic field, namely widespread yet unknown strain specificity in probiotic treatment efficacy," Huang says. "Our proof-of-concept study also established generalizable principles for the rational development of colonizable, functional probiotics with persistent treatment efficacy in multiple model organisms. Moreover, the abfA cluster is so prevalent in the gut microbiota that it can be developed as a simple yet powerful biomarker for gastrointestinal diseases."

This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

  • Gastrointestinal Problems
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Headache Research
  • Microbes and More
  • Genetically Modified
  • Veterinary Medicine
  • Constipation
  • Antibiotic resistance
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Materials provided by Cell Press . Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference :

  • Peter Kuffa, Joseph M. Pickard, Austin Campbell, Misa Yamashita, Sadie R. Schaus, Eric C. Martens, Thomas M. Schmidt, Naohiro Inohara, Gabriel Núñez, Roberta Caruso. Fiber-deficient diet inhibits colitis through the regulation of the niche and metabolism of a gut pathobiont . Cell Host & Microbe , 2023; DOI: 10.1016/j.chom.2023.10.016

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Inspiring students with ham radio, other educational programs.

As an orbiting microgravity laboratory, the International Space Station hosts experiments from almost every scientific field. It also is home to educational programs to encourage young people worldwide to study science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). These programs aim to inspire the next generation of space scientists and explorers and experts who can solve problems facing people on Earth.

The first and longest running educational outreach program on the space station is ISS Ham Radio . An organization known as Amateur Radio on the International Space Station, or ARISS, helps run the program. ARISS is a partnership between NASA, the American Radio Relay League, the Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation, amateur radio organizations, and multiple international space agencies. Students use amateur or ham radio to talk with astronauts, asking them questions about life in space, career opportunities, and other space-related topics. Three contacts with schools in Australia and Canada were scheduled during the month of November 2023.

Koichi Wakata, wearing a striped shirt, faces the camera, holding the ham radio mic in his right hand. It is attached by a large grey cable to the radio set above his head. A large camera and tangles of wires are next to him.

Before a contact, students help set up a ground radio station and study radio waves, space technology, the space station, geography, and the space environment. Contact events have been held with schools from kindergarten through 12th grade, universities, scout groups, museums, libraries, and after school programs, and at national and international events. Approximately 15,000 to 100,000 students are involved directly each year and thousands more people in their communities witness these contacts directly or through the news media.

Rita Wright, a teacher at Burbank School in Burbank, IL, one of the first to have a contact with the space station, reported on the extensive study and preparation by the students there. 1 She noted that their contact was “an interdisciplinary learning experience for all grades across a variety of academic concentrations that included math, science, reading, writing and art…. The transformation that took place was quite revolutionary. We came closer together as a school.” Students talked extensively about the experiment and parents pitched in and helped because they sensed how special the event was and wanted to be a part of it.

Wright adds that ripple effects continued long after the December 2000 contact with astronaut William Shepherd. Staff members were inspired to look for other interdisciplinary projects and many students talked about pursuing careers associated with the space industry.

After a contact at Sonoran Sky Elementary School in Scottsdale, AZ, teacher Carrie Cunningham reported that the students started an after-school Amateur Radio Club and that, “sparked by the excitement of the ARISS contact, many students have shown an interested in pursuing their own Amateur Radio experience.” 2

“There is a sense of accomplishment that results from the school and the students setting up and conducting the ISS ham contact themselves,” Cunningham reported. “The students better understand how NASA and the other international space agencies conduct science in space. The unique, hands-on nature of the amateur radio contact provides the incentive to learn about orbital mechanics, space flight, and radio operations.”

In a 2018 conference presentation, members of the ARISS staff noted that the program and its predecessors have jump-started countless careers, touched millions of people from all walks of life, and even become local and international phenomena. Participants have ranged from disadvantaged students to heads of states, and the program has been mentioned in IMAX films, numerous television shows, and commercials. 3

A group of educators from Australia recently looked at how ham radio affected student interest in STEM subjects. They found that the program has a significant and positive impact on students and that interest in all STEM areas increases as a direct result of contacts. 4

That research also reported a strong belief among teachers that astronauts provide outstanding examples of role models for their students. While the greatest changes in student interests occurs with primary school age students, the program also creates strong change in the interests of high school students.

Mike Fincke wears a red shirt and smiles at the camera as he holds the ham radio mic in his left hand next to the radio set. Sheafs of paper are clipped to the wall in front of him and equipment covers the wall behind him.

Patricia Palazzolo was the coordinator for gifted education in the Upper St. Clair School District in Pennsylvania during a 2004 contact with NASA astronaut Mike Fincke. She wrote a report about the event, noting that the positive impact of the program goes far beyond the numbers. “All of my students who have participated … have gone on to phenomenal accomplishments and careers that contribute much to society. Almost all have opted for careers in science, technology, or science-related fields.”

Ham radio experiences help students make real-world connections among disciplines, teach problem-solving under the pressure of deadlines, hone communication skills, and illustrate the importance of technology. 5 For the adults involved, contacts highlight the significance of sharing skills with others and provide an opportunity to model the power of passion, partnership, and persistence.

AstroPi is an educational program from ESA (European Space Agency) where primary and secondary school students design experiments and write computer code for one of two Raspberry Pi computers on the space station. The computers are equipped with sensors to measure the environment inside the spacecraft, detect how the station moves through space, and pick up the Earth’s magnetic field. One of them has an infrared camera and the other a standard visible-spectrum camera. 

One student project used the visible camera to observe small-scale gravity waves in different regions in the northern hemisphere. 6 Atmospheric gravity waves transport energy and momentum to the upper layers of the atmosphere. These phenomena can be detected by visual patterns such as meteor trails, airglow, and clouds.

Samantha Cristoforetti, wearing a long-sleeved purple shirt, smiles at the camera. Hardware floating next to her includes a partly visible AstroPi with a black camera attached and a silver AstroPi with red and white lights.

YouTube Space Lab was a world-wide contest for students ages 14 to 18 to design an experiment about physics or biology using video. Two proposals were selected from 2,000 entries received from around the world. One of those documented the ability of the Phidippus jumping spider to walk on surfaces and make short, direct jumps to capture small flies in microgravity. 7

Other space station facilities that host student-designed projects include CubeSat small satellites, TangoLab, the Nanoracks platform, and Space Studio Kibo, a JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) broadcasting studio.

NASA is committed to engaging, inspiring, and attracting future explorers and building a diverse future STEM workforce through a broad set of programs and opportunities. The space station is an important part of that commitment.

John Love, ISS Research Planning Integration Scientist Expedition 70

Search this database of scientific experiments to learn more about those mentioned above. Space Station Research Explorer .

Citations :

  • Wright RL. Remember, We’re Pioneers! The First School Contact with the International Space Station. AMSAT-NA Space Symposium. Arlington, VA. 2004 9pp.
  • Cunningham C. NA1SS, NA1SS, This is KA7SKY Calling…… AMSAT-NA Space Symposium, Arlington, VA. 2004
  • Bauer F, Taylor D, White R. Educational Outreach and International Collaboration Through ARISS: Amateur Radio on the International Space Station. 2018 SpaceOps Conference, Marseille, France. 2018 28 May – 1 June; 14 pp. DOI: 10.2514/6.2018-2437 .
  • Diggens, M., Williams, J., Benedix, G. (2023). No Roadblocks in Low Earth Orbit: The Motivational Role of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) School Program in STEM Education. Space Education & Strategic Applications.
  • Palazzolo P. Launching Dreams: The Long-term Impact of SAREX and ARISS on Student Achievement. AMSAT-NA Space Symposium, Pittsburgh, PA. 2007 18pp.
  • Magalhaes TE, Silva DE, Silva CE, Dinis AA, Magalhaes JP, Ribeiro TM. Observation of atmospheric gravity waves using a Raspberry Pi camera module on board the International Space Station. Acta Astronautica. 2021 May 1; 182416-423. DOI: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2021.02.022
  • Hill DE. Jumping spiders in outer space (Araneae: Salticidae). PECKHAMIA. 2016 September 17; 146(1): 7 pp.

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November 22, 2023

The Science to Be Grateful for This Year

A year of exciting ideas and research has given us much to be grateful for

By Lori Youmshajekian

Billowy, multi-cloud spectacle spans the view with shifting hues from blues and translucent oranges on the left to vibrant orange, red, and brown on the right, featuring two bright stars with diffraction spikes.

Webb's NIRCam captures the Orion Bar in the Nebula, where energetic UV light from the Trapezium Cluster interacts with molecular clouds, gradually shaping the region and impacting the chemistry of protoplanetary disks around newborn stars.

ESA/Webb, NASA, CSA, M. Zamani (ESA/Webb), PDRs4ALL ERS Team

Thanks to science, we’ve experienced dramatic shifts in the way we understand ourselves, Earth and the universe in the past 12 months. But the hours, weeks and years people commit to the meticulous research that affects so much of our life can easily get buried in the flow of daily news.

So in recognition of this year’s achievements—and in keeping with the Thanksgiving season’s spirit of gratitude—we at Scientific American want to share the things that we’re thankful for in the world of science this year:

I’m grateful that the James Webb Space Telescope has provided some of the most gorgeous photographs of space that we’ve ever had. Additionally, we can thank a mathematician for solving a long-standing riddle about Möbius strips and OSIRIS-REx for being the first U.S. mission to return asteroid samples to Earth . — Clara Moskowitz, senior editor, space and physics

I’m grateful that millions of people around the world are alive today thanks to PEPFAR (the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief) and drugs that treat AIDS or prevent HIV from progressing to AIDS . Millions more avoided infecting others or were protected from being infected with HIV thanks to PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). — Laura Helmuth, editor in chief

I’m thankful for the approval of lecanemab , a new drug to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. — Gary Stix, senior editor, mind and brain

I’m thankful for the scientists who are trying to ensure there is a welcoming space for everyone , regardless of race, gender, etcetera, to engage in science and that renewable energy continues to grow (even if we still need it to do so at a faster pace). Further, I’m grateful for the improvements we’re continually making in weather forecasting and for the scientists working so hard to build better models and get better data. — Andrea Thompson, associate editor, sustainability

I am thankful for scientists who risk their life to protect the lives of others and to now have pity for male tarantulas instead of fearing them. And I’m grateful for scientists who are trying to save the oceans so they can sustain future generations of people and marine creatures. — Mark Fischetti, senior editor, sustainability

I’m grateful for the approval of vaccines and medications for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) after a 50-year-long search . — Josh Fischman, senior editor, medicine and science policy

I am thankful for cats, which are perfect, even in terms of evolution . Additionally, I’m grateful that paleontologists discovered an epic chonker that swam the ocean nearly 40 million years ago and that Narcan is becoming a little more accessible . — Meghan Bartels, news reporter

I’m grateful that artificial intelligence might let us chat with animals , that science shows we can manage a four-day workweek and that researchers are working on making air conditioners more environmentally friendly . — Sophie Bushwick, associate editor, technology

I’m grateful for Ada Limón’s beautiful poem about Europa . — Lauren Young, associate editor, health and medicine

I’m thankful for mRNA technology, which gave us the highly effective COVID vaccines that have saved millions of lives and could be used to treat cancer and other diseases . Further, I’m grateful that hearing aids may slow cognitive decline and that coffee is generally safe for your heart and may even help people stay active. — Tanya Lewis, senior editor, health and medicine


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