CaRES Student-Initiated Projects

The ideas for almost all CaRES projects arise from UAB faculty members who submit their cancer research project descriptions to the CaRES website, via the Preceptor Application.

However, the idea for a CaRES project can come from a student!  

A student who is eligible for the CaRES program can draft a description of a cancer research project that he or she has in mind, then attempt to identify an appropriate UAB faculty member to serve as his or her preceptor.  On occasion a student attends a lecture by a cancer researcher and decides to approach that lecturer to be his or her preceptor.  On other occasions, the student has a cancer project in mind, but needs guidance to find a preceptor for that project. 

For example, if a student is interested in studying the effects of pesticide exposure on breast cancer risk, the student should draft a description of the project they have in mind, then attempt to identify a UAB faculty member who would be an appropriate preceptor.  The student may want to search the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center website to identify a faculty member who has active grants and publications in this area of research.  If the student does not know which faculty member to approach or is turned down by a faculty member that he or she approaches, Program Directors Dr. Peter Smith and Dr. John Waterbor can provide guidance.  Once a reasonable preceptor has been identified, the student should share his or her draft with that faculty member and ask him or her to be the CaRES preceptor.  If the faculty member agrees, the student and faculty member should together revise, improve, and polish the project description and submit it to the CaRES website. 


After the project description has appeared on the CaRES website for at least 48 hours the faculty member can officially choose the student who drafted the project description to be his or her CaRES intern.  During that 48 hours, other students may read the project description and request an interview for that project.  In this way, a second student is sometimes identified and possibly recruited to do a related project along with the original student, should there be enough work to occupy two students full-time. 

Students who want to propose a CaRES project but who need assistance in identifying an appropriate UAB faculty preceptor, are advised to contact Program Directors Dr. John Waterbor ( or Dr. Peter Smith (, who can review the draft of the project description, and suggest potential faculty preceptors for the student to approach.