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 with the opportunity to contribute to STEM research literature, we have established our novel Mentored Paper Initiative. Students that are selected to partcipate will have the opportunity to be partnered with a graduate student as they write a manuscript that is of peer-reviewable quality in the URNCST Journal. The topic of the manuscript 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 manuscript will be peer-reviewed by another graduate student, to allow the students to experience external-feedback. This opportunity provides undergraduate students with the chance to improve their scientific writing skills and experience the entire process of writing an academic manuscript, 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 be 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 diligence 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 manuscripts. 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

Mentorship Period: Summer 2021 (May-August)


Update: The URNCST Journal's call for abstracts for the 3rd Mentored Paper Initiative is now closed. Those who applied in advance of the March 28, 2021 @ 11:59pm EST deadline should expect to receive an outcome on their submission by late-April/early-May. 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 4th Mentored Paper Initiative (Fall 2021) for which we anticipate our call for abstracts will open in Summer 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 natural 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.




MPI3.1: In recent years, immune-based cancer therapies have advanced drastically. Focusing on one type of cancer, what are some immunotherapies that have been developed (either in clinical trials or pre-clinical phases) and how efficacious have they been?


MPI3.2: Since the outbreak of the recent COVID-19 pandemic, there have been many variants of the SARS-CoV-2 virus detected across the world. How do different mutants of viruses emerge, and what are the regional/geographical factors that give rise to different variants?


MPI3.3: The use of telehealth by both physicians and patients has become more prevalent than ever due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Compile a literature overview of the history of telehealth, and choose one specific patient group to discuss how the implementation of telehealth has affected (improved or worsened) their healthcare experience.


MPI3.4: What is the relationship between hearing loss and age-related cognitive decline (such as vascular dementia and Alzheimer's disease?)


MPI3.5: How can music listening and musical training benefit cognition in healthy older adults and those with dementia?


MPI3.6: What medications and interventions have been demonstrated to be effective in slowing the progression of mild cognitive impairment, a prodromal stage of Alzheimer's disease and other dementias?


MPI3.7: How can the creation, validation and implementation of E-health tools improve the continuum of care in psychiatry?


MPI3.8: Can the implementation of a machine learning model within a non-knowledge based clinical decision support system be useful for front line workers in psychiatry?


MPI3.9: How can innovative technologies in AI create a gold standard for disease modelling within psychiatry?


MPI3.10: What pathophysiologic and prognostic effects do diuretics have in the treatment of heart failure?


MPI3.11: There are many different theories behind the de novo formation of cancer. What are some of the leading theories and cancer formation, and what is the evidence behind them?


MPI3.12: What is the evidence for immune cells in the heart?


MPI3.13: How do plants physiologically and molecularly respond to climate change (i.e., elevated temperatures, decreased precipitation etc.)?


MPI3.14: Why is it important to identify residual cells in leukaemia patients after treatment?


MPI3.15: What are the methods available for identifying measurable residual disease in leukaemia patients, and how are they able to detect these cells?


MPI3.16: What are the most popular treatments for patients with acute myeloid leukemia, and what do they target?


MPI3.17: What are the effects of early fortification of human milk in premature newborns (a scoping review)?


MPI3.18: What are the effects of fetal sex on the growth and development of the human placenta during pregnancy?


MPI3.19: What is the role of blood glucose and insulin for regulating skeletal muscle blood flow following a metabolic challenge?


MPI3.20: How do different adjunct training modalities facilitate exercise performance benefits (endurance or hypertrophy)?


MPI3.21: 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 ________.)


MPI3.22: Parkinson's disease is hypothesized to be a prion-disease. What are the characteristics of prion propagation and affected areas in the early stages of Parkinson's disease? What are some proposed tests for early impairments?


MPI3.23: Sleep is an important aspect of neurobiology and neurodegenerative diseases. What are some hypothesized reasons in sleep research that support the regulatory/protective roles of sleep against neurodegeneration?


MPI3.24: To what extent is the nucleus reuniens involved in memory generalization?


MPI3.25: How does neurogenesis mediate inaccessibility of memories?


MPI3.26: Where/how is memory stored?


MPI3.27: Why can you not remember your first memory?


MPI3.28: Electricity from organic dyes: How successful are dye-sensitized solar cells as a significant source of electricity?


MPI3.29: Why are bioluminescence imaging (BLI) & magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) employed simultaneously for tracking tumour growth in bioluminescent organisms?


MPI3.30: Explain how the silica nanoparticles are used for drug delivery while controlling the chemical properties of stimulation of the targeted area.


MPI3.31: What is the benefit of early treatment in Parkinson's disease?


MPI3.32: Why is computational analysis of the musculoskeletal system important for complementing exoskeleton design research?