Molecular & Cellular Biology

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Securing a Research Mentor

Securing a Research Mentor

First, do some of your own research regarding professors and their work to determine who you'd like to work with. Use these links to identify professors that match your interests:

UA Office of Undergraduate Research 
MCB Faculty List 
- Search other UA departments' websites and faculty directories

Once you have an idea of which professors you prefer, begin contacting them. E-mail is generally the standard method, but you could also call to arrange an appointment or visit the professor during his or her office hours. In an e-mail, you should briefly express your interest to work in the professor's lab as well as why their lab is of particular interest to you. You may complete and attach a Student Profile form (MS Word) as well.

Once you find a professor who is interested in having you work with him or her, arrange a time to meet in person. This meeting is for you and the professor to confirm that your interests match, and to discuss the research experience you will be undertaking in his or her lab.

An ideal research project will provide you with an introduction to scientific methodology and should require both laboratory manipulations and intellectual aspects of question-driven research. Students are not to serve simply as a pair of hands for another lab member. Specific criteria for the research experience, such as the following examples, should be determined by your research mentor:

- lab techniques to be learned
- attendance at lab meetings 
- maintenance of a lab notebook
- conference presentations
- writing a summary of the research