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Abstract Guidelines and Tips


Please be sure your abstract contains the following prior to submission:

  • A sentence stating the study’s objective (unless this is provided in the title)
  • A brief statement of methods, if pertinent
  • A summary of the results obtained
  • A statement of conclusion (it is not acceptable to state, “the results will be discussed”)


Please follow these guidelines when formatting your abstract:

  • Use a short, specific title. The title should be entered in title-style capitalization (i.e. Modeling Cytoskeletal Structures with Cytosim). Please do not use a period, or place your title in quotes, use bold, or use ALL CAPS.
  • Use primary affiliation for the corresponding author only, (i.e. do not list all affiliations, or number authors/affiliations).
  • Please do not write given or family names, titles, or abstracts in ALL CAPS.
  • Use standard abbreviations for units of measure; other abbreviations should be spelled out in full at first mention, followed by the abbreviation in parenthesis (exceptions: RNA, DNA, etc.).
  • Please do not include tables, charts, or other figures.
  • Be sure to proofread your work carefully before submission. Please ensure your abstract and submission details are correct. It will be printed exactly as it appears in the abstract submission system.

Character Limit/Word Count

  • The abstract text is limited to 400 words. This limit includes the body of the abstract only. If your abstract exceeds this limit, you will be prompted to shorten it before being allowed to continue. There must be a minimum of 400 characters, NOT including spaces, to submit your abstract.
  • The abstract title is limited to 200 characters, including spaces.
  • There is no character limit for your authors or author affiliations.

Abstract Tips

excerpted from 'How to write an abstract for a conference' written by Matthieu Chartier

  1. See guidelines (above) for word count and formatting before abstract submission. Not formatting correctly could get your abstract rejected.
  2. TITLE: Choose an abstract title that clearly conveys what your project is about and sparks interest from fellow attendees.
  3. WHY? Define the background of your project, state what is known in your field of research. Next, state the gap in knowledge and define the question(s) that your work is trying to answer. Convey the purpose and relevance of your project.
  4. HOW? Outline the tools, study design, and general methods, without being overly detailed. Details can be provided in the poster itself.
  5. WHAT? State the main findings of your work; the results section should be the longest part of your abstracts. The results should be unbiased and factual. Stay away from writing about the significance of your findings here. You can use linking words such as “moreover” or “in contrast” but avoid “interestingly” or “unexpectedly”, especially if it won’t be clear for the readers why the finding has such connotation. 
  6. CONCLUSIONS: State the main conclusion(s) from your results. This is where you can express the significance of your findings. Contrast them to existing literature; are they in accordance or opposition to previous studies? Highlight any novelty in your discoveries. Express the implications of your findings within the field and what new research avenues they open. 

For helpful tips while writing your abstract, see this video by EMBL:

For more tips, read How to hook an audience with a good abstract by Brian Plosky, Molecular Cell editor.