Welcome to Cancer Research Experiences for Students (CaRES)


Effective 2020, the CaRES program is no longer accepting students.  CaRES staff are now tabulating peer-reviewed cancer publications and current places of employment / job titles of former CaRES students,  with the expectation that many of them have gone into cancer research.  We will publish a paper demonstrating the impact of CaRES on the career choices of participating students and describe their cancer research accomplishments.  

As for Summer 2024 and beyond, there is a new cancer research training program called ENRICH, similar to CaRES, directed by Dr. Elizabeth Brown and Dr. Lalita Shevde-Samant.   Please contact Dr. Brown (elizabethbrown@uabmc.edu)  or Dr. Shevde-Samant (lalitasamant@uab.edu) for further information.

Dr. John Waterbor

CaRES Program Director, 1999-2019

October 31, 2023

Thank you for your interest in the CaRES program!  If you’re new to CaRES, feel free to read about the program and our history under CaRES History in the menu above.

CaRES 2021 / What Students Need to Know

Cancer Research Experiences for Students (CaRES) is funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to educate and train graduate students in cancer research.  An overview of CaRES program history and goals, and details about CaRES for summer 2021, are given in the Powerpoint slideshow Click here to see the overview slideshow. Below, we summarize key information.

CaRES Preceptors (mentors) are any of the over 400 UAB faculty members appointed to the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center, who submit a project description to become a CaRES preceptor. 

CaRES Students must beAmerican citizens or permanent residents of the U.S.  Medical students, veterinary medicine students, graduate public health students, graduate biomedical sciences students, and graduate pharmacy students, are eligible.  Under-Represented Minority (URM) students are encouraged to apply.  CaRES students need not live at or near UAB.  In summer 2021 CaRES will support 30 students.

CaRES Internships are for 10-15 weeks of full-time effort.  Students are paid $600/week.  Students must complete CITI training before starting their CaRES research. During the summer, CaRES students will participate in virtual seminars on Responsible Conduct of Research and career development.  Each CaRES student will present a poster on his/her research project at the CaRES Poster Session in July.

CaRES Virtual Research Projects are projects that can be successfully completed with minimal in-person contact between student and preceptor.  Due to ongoing concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, most (possibly, all) CaRES projects in summer 2021 will be virtual projects.  Each virtual project must be substantial and should result in a publication or other professional contribution (beyond the required poster).  An example of a virtual project is a meta-analysis of studies of perineal talcum powder use and development of ovarian cancer and a draft of a paper for publication.  CaRES students must adhere to NCI and UAB policies for social distancing, proper disinfection practices, and use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). 

Categories of Virtual Projects include: 

  • Data analysis of new or existing datasets (UAB or national databases)
  • Survey implementation
  • Meta-analysis of cancer data
  • Bioinformatics (analysis of genetic or genomic cancer data)
  • Collaboration on a clinical study that uses Electronic Medical Records (EMR)
  • Creation of instructional materials or videos

CaRES Student Interviews and Placement take place in late February and March, but research projects are not done until summer (May – August).  UAB faculty members submit project descriptions to our website https://sites.uab.edu/cares/preceptor-application/ and interested students schedule virtual screening interviews for projects of interest to them.  Students interview for as many projects as they wish, and faculty interview as many students as they wish.  Each preceptor invites the student who is his / her first choice for an in-person interview at UAB.  CaRES cannot pay for transportation for in-person interviews.  If faculty member and student finalize plans to work together, they complete the CaRES Mentoring Contract and email it with the student’s CV to Program Director Dr. John Waterbor to reserve an internship slot. 

CaRES Student Oversight is rigorous, with students required to check in with their preceptor each day, to review progress and decide on the next steps to assure continued progress.  Students will confirm their check-ins each day with CaRES staff.  Preceptors state their expectations for student productivity in their project descriptions and on the mentoring contract.  Three face-to-face meetings of student and preceptor should be held, at the beginning, mid-point, and end of the internship.  

CaRES In-person Projects at UAB research labs may be permitted for students already working in the lab of a UAB faculty member who submits a project description and becomes a CaRES preceptor.  The preceptor must complete the resumption of research operation plan R2Ops.  Students who wish to begin in-person lab research for CaRES in Summer 2021 must have the preceptor apply for exemption from the policy disallowing the addition of students to UAB laboratories. The approval needs to be in place before CaRES internship start date. 

CaRES Projects requiring Access to Electronic Databases and/or Regulatory Approval must be planned far in advance.  The preceptor is responsible for all regulatory approvals (i.e. IRB/IACUC) and must gain approval  for student access to databases by the first day of the CaRES internship.


Please direct your questions to Dr. Smith or Dr. Waterbor.  Thank you for your interest in CaRES!

Peter R. Smith, PhD

CaRES Program Director


John W. Waterbor, MD, DrPH

CaRES Program Director


February 15, 2021