URNCST Journal Mentored Paper

The URNCST Journal team prides itself on its commitment to advocate for undergraduate STEM research. In our endeavours to promote undergraduate research, we have published a number of papers from undergraduate research competitions and case competitions. From these ventures, we have identified a couple of themes that were found to recur independently as follows: 1) undergraduate students are extremely keen to use their critical thinking skills to participate in research endeavours that recognize their valuable work and 2) there exists a subset of students who desire to contribute to undergraduate STEM research but due to one reason or another are unable to take part in such research or feel as if they may need closer guidance during the writing process. Despite this, many thousands of undergraduate students across the globe play crucial roles in making new discoveries every single year.

In an effort to provide undergraduate students the opportunity to contribute to STEM research literature, we have established our novel Mentored Paper Initiative. Students that have been selected will have the opportunity to be partnered with a graduate student as they write a paper that is of publishable quality in the URNCST Journal. The topic of the paper will be in the graduate student’s area of expertise to allow them to more effectively guide the students throughout the writing process. Students will be mentored from the design stage to write up, and the final paper will be peer-reviewed by another graduate student, to allow the students to experience external-feedback. This opportunity provides undergraduate students the chance to improve their scientific writing skills and go through the entire process of writing an academic paper, while working under the supervision of a graduate student. Those wishing to learn more about how the URNCST Journal Mentored Paper initiative was developed can read our published editorial.


Eligibility to Participate: The mentored paper is open to authors who are enrolled in an undergraduate (i.e. BSc, BEng, BA, etc.) or professional-undergraduate (i.e. MD, DDS, PharmD, OD, RN, etc.) degree program.

About the Competition: Undergraduate students participating in the URNCST Journal Mentored Paper are required to draft and submit an abstract on a topic that is of interest to them based on the questions provided below. This abstract must be in the format of either 1) a research protocol (i.e. a plan to conduct a study) OR 2) a review (i.e. a review of the currently existing literature); it is not acceptable to simply summarize a single study already published in the literature by an academic journal. Students may submit an abstract alone or in teams of up to 3. These abstracts will be reviewed for suitability (i.e. understanding of topic, writing ability), and accepted students will paired with the graduate student who proposed the topic and will mentor the undergraduate (team) in drafting a manuscript that is of suitable quality to undergo peer-review by the URNCST Journal. As participants will be under the guidance of a graduate student, they are not required to have a complete understanding of the topic, but should have done their due dilligence in reading about the topic online and have the motivation and dedication to learn from the mentoring graduate student.

Topics Available: Please see below for a complete list of the available research topics for the papers. Please note that these are the only questions accepted students should write on and they are not subject to change.


Deadline to Submit Abstract for Consideration: Closed


Update: The URNCST Journal's call for abstracts for the 2nd Mentored Paper Initiative is now closed. Those who applied in advance of the December 01, 2020 @ 11:59pm EST deadline should expect to receive an outcome on their submission by late-December/early-January. Should you have any questions about participating, please contact us at competition@urncst.com. For those who did not have the chance to participate, please stay tuned for the 3rd Mentored Paper Initiative which we anticipate will open in Winter/Spring 2021.


For Graduate Students: We are always interested in identifying new mentors who are able/willing to help keen undergraduate researchers design, develop, and write a full-length study protocol or review. Eligible mentors must be enrolled in or a graduate of a graduate program (a Master's level degree at minimum) in any natura or clinical science or technology discipline. Please apply to be a mentor here.


After selecting a topic, please click "Learn More & SUBMIT ABSTRACT" below and follow the instructions provided.




MPI2.1: What are some neural biomarkers of early Alzheimer's disease using electroencephalography (EEG)?


MPI2.2: What cognitive profiles distinguish dementia due to Alzheimer's disease from vascular dementia and Parkinson's dementias?


MPI2.3: Prior research has suggested that younger adults tend to be more "evening" people, and older adults tend to be more "morning" people. How do physiological and psychological factors change with circadian rhythms and aging?


MPI2.4: How does microglial depletion influence the brain's ability to repair following injury?


MPI2.5: What role do astrocytes play in the pathology of mild traumatic brain injury?


MPI2.6: What is the prevalence of symptomatic Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome among neonates exposed to maternal selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor or serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors in-utero? (This will be a systematic review of prevalence.)


MPI2.7: An innumerable number of biological processes occur simultaneously in each cell, and compartmentalization of these processes is of utmost importance for their regulation. What are some of these compartments and how do they function?


MPI2.8: Why is yeast such a widely used eukaryotic model organism?


MPI2.9: How does social connectedness influence disease transmission in various species?


MPI2.10: How do parasites manipulate the behaviour of their hosts?


MPI2.11: Do non-human animals experience mental illnesses? If so, which animals and how?


MPI2.12: Effective health messaging has become especially important during the pandemic. How has the nature of public health messaging changed over time in different societies, and how can principles of human psychology play into crafting effective health messaging techniques?


MPI2.13: One of the challenges in treating brain disorders such as brain cancer is the impermeability of the blood-brain barrier to therapeutic agents. What is the reason behind this impermeability, and what are some strategies that have been developed to overcome this problem in treating various ailments?


MPI2.14: What drives the mutation/genetic variation in budding yeast?


MPI2.15: What is a compound that can be found in everyday life but causes DNA damage? And how do cells repair the damage on DNA?


MPI2.16: Which behavioural change theories can we use to form the basis of interventions for increasing physical activity in adults? How can we effectively deliver these interventions?


MPI2.17: What factors influence variability in physical activity behaviour? How can interventions address these factors?


MPI2.18: E3 ligase systems are important in regulating normal cellular function, but are often mutated in cancer. How do these mutations affect the role of the E3 ligase system, and how might they be targeted therapeutically?


MPI2.19: Loss of cell cycle control is a hallmark of cancer progression, but mutations in several different pathways can lead to cell cycle dysfunction. Which pathways are the most commonly mutated? Are there viable therapeutic options for these cancers?


MPI2.20: To what extent is the nucleus reuniens involved in the memory generalization?


MPI2.21: To what extent does epigenetics affect memory formation?


MPI2.22: How does exercise affect memory retention?


MPI2.23: There are many behavioral hallmarks of early Alzheimer’s Disease. What are some of the hallmarks and related brain structures that contribute to this?


MPI2.24: There are many neural biomarkers of early Alzheimer’s disease using immunohistochemistry staining. What do they indicate and what are the implications for this? (Eg: Stain for ____ (neural biomarker) showed ______, which indicates _____, implying that ______.)