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As Biology Coursework Ideas

Neurobiology is a super-interesting topic for studies and student-led investigations. From perception and memory to invertebrate behaviour, there is a great diversity of areas for research. Of course, one of the biggest challenges is generating “sufficient relevant data”, so plan early and look for ways to record data that will reduce uncertainties and errors.

Some tips: 

  • Aim to generate large sample sizes of reliable data
  • Aim for an experiment rather than a survey  – test the effects of at least five increments of a variable under your control on the measurable impact on your dependent variable.
  • Remember, if you are using humans in your investigation, you must complete the human subject consent form.
  • Make sure you fully understand the pathways or processed involved in your study. Use reliable, cited information in your lab report.

DO NOT carry out any investigations that require testing of blood or other bodily fluids, or which involve medications or dietary changes.

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Here are some links to simulations and tests of variable quality that might give you some ideas.

Perception & Memory

Reaction times

Visual perception

Hearing

Lots more perception-related simulations from Eric Chudler’s Neurobiology site.

Lots more cognition games from http://cognitivefun.net/

Brain games and tests from Lumosity.com

Puzzle Solving

Invertebrate Behaviour

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Here's a list of some microbiology ideas. You will need to speak to your teacher as to whether any of these are appropriate/can be done with the resources available at your school. Also consider that you will not be able to get ideas from your classmates and discuss your progress if you are doing something dissimilar to them.

Factors affecting relative activity of immobilised enzymes..eg bead size or flow rate or temperature or substrate concentration or vessel shape (use one only!)
Comparing antibacterial action of (eg) Strepsils vs Fishermens Friends
Comparing antibacterial action of (eg) TCP vs Aspirin/disprin or similar
Which is the cheapst bug killer? Cost effectiveness comparison of antibacterials (eg those in the previous two suggestions.
Factors affecting the production of simple sugars through the malting of barley grains.
Factors maximising alcohol yield from (eg) fruit juices or grains or potato.. could use a single yeast strain OR more than one(but don't overdo it!).
Are there differences in water potential between fruit at different ripenesses? Or in potatoes as they sprout? (Many do between Feb-April)
Effect of fruit ripening on concentration of reducing sugars(a variation on the previous suggestion)This one is a very tricky one to carry out!
Effect of fruit ripening on the concentration of proteolytic enzyme in pineapples.(This digests gelatin)
Factors affecting tomato seed germination. Does washing, treatment/removal of testa affect it? (You'll need to research and suggest reasons!).
The rate of fermentation of various carbohydrate(e.g. lactose/glucose/starch/sugar etc. etc.) by yeast(or their growth). Could relate to several themes including respiration.
Effects of alcohol on yeast respiration
Effects of different alcohols on yeast respiration
Action of inhibitors on the activity of the enzyme succinic dehydrogenase obtained from plant tissue. Possible inhibitors include silver nitrate and malonic acid.
Effect of sodium chloride on amylase
Effects of temperature or pH on enzyme activity.Careful! Needs great refinement and originality to be at all worthwhile!!
Effects of calcium chloride on (different) milk clotting enzymes
Effects of substrate concentration on enzyme activity. Needs great care to be worthwhile!
Root tip squashes - but beware! You need to make these quantitative.
Effects of different pH solutions on membrane permeability
Effects of alcohols on membrane permeability
Effects of heat(cooking)/light(storage)/cold(freezing or refrigeration) on vitamin C content in named fruit(ie optimal conditions are...?)
Is vitamin C denaturation related to the cooking method (ie boiling, frying, baking). Why?

Marcus

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