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 the CaRES preceptor.  On occasion a student attends a lecture by a cancer researcher and decides to approach that lecturer to be his or her preceptor – this may work out well!  On other occasions, the student has a cancer research project in mind, but needs guidance from CaRES program faculty to identify an appropriate preceptor.  

For example, if a student is interested in studying the effects of pesticide exposure on breast cancer risk, but has no specific preceptor in mind, the student should draft a project description, then 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 who to approach or is turned down by a faculty member who he or she approaches, Program Directors Dr. Peter Smith and Dr. John Waterbor can provide guidance.  Once a potential preceptor has been identified, the student should share his or her draft with that faculty member.  If the faculty member agrees to be the preceptor, the student and preceptor should work together to finalize the project description.  Then the preceptor should submit the project description to the CaRES website, using the Preceptor Application.  


After the project description has been on the CaRES website for at least 48 hours, the faculty member can officially choose the student who proposed the project to be his or her CaRES intern.  During the “waiting period” of 48 hours, other students may read the project description on the website and request an interview.  In this way, a second student is sometimes identified and possibly recruited to do a similar 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 need assistance in identifying an appropriate UAB faculty preceptor should contact Program Director Dr. John Waterbor ( or Program Director Dr. Peter Smith (, who can review the draft of the project description and suggest potential faculty preceptors for the student to approach.  If an appropriate preceptor cannot be identified, the student cannot do the project within CaRES.