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Finding a Mentor

Postby Joselle24 » Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:36 am

In my science fair project I will be testing cesium chloride and sodium bicarbonate on cancer cell lines that are isloated from different organs. I will also change the concentrations of cesium chloride and sodium bicarbonate to see if there will be any effects on the cancer cell lines. Unfortunately, I do not have the proper equipment or work place to grow these cancer cell lines. Any suggestions or refrences on where I can find a mentor that will help me grow cancer cells?

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Re: Finding a Mentor

Postby HeatherL » Tue Nov 26, 2013 12:38 pm

Hi Joselle,

Here is information on how to go about finding a mentor: ... tors.shtml

Your best bet is to start looking for researchers at colleges and universities in your area, who work with cancer cells. If there is a medical research institute near you, that will work too.

Good luck, and let us know if you need more help along the way.


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Re: Finding a Mentor

Postby SciB » Tue Nov 26, 2013 6:38 pm

Hi Joselle,

In addition to Heather's link for information on finding a mentor, I would like to add that BEFORE you start calling professors you need to have a very clear idea of your hypothesis and how you plan to test it. In your posting you just said you were 'testing cesium chloride on cancer cells'. What kind of test do you mean? Why did you choose cesium? I am assuming the sodium bicarbonate is the control for the 'test'.

Professors are willing to help young students do a project but only if they can show that they have a very good understanding of the research and can explain the purpose and significance of doing these particular experiments. The research needs to be something that has not been already done before and that answers an interesting question. What is your hypothesis? What is the basis in the scientific literature for proposing these experiments?

Send us some more information about your project and we will guide you in creating a good proposal for contacting potential mentors.

Best wishes,


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Re: Finding a Mentor

Postby connief » Sat Nov 30, 2013 12:56 pm

Hi Joselle,

I absolutely agree with Heather and Sybee that looking for labs at nearby universities that work on and with cancer cells will be your best bet in finding a mentor for your project. Like Sybee had mentioned, it would be important for you to tell the professors you're going to e-mail what your main question is, what your hypothesis is, and how you're planning to test your hypothesis. For example, why did you decide to test the effects of these chemicals on cancer cells? Was previous work done where these chemicals were shown to affect cancer cells in some way, or is it unknown what these chemicals can do to cancer cells? Are there certain properties about these chemicals that prompt you to test how they affect cancer cells? Are there specific types of cancer cells that you want to test these chemicals on? Certain labs only work on certain types of cancer cells, so it will be important to contact labs that work on specific types of cancers if you want to test the effects on certain cancer cells. Mentioning your question, hypothesis, and experimental methods to your potential mentors will also give them a better idea of what you want to do, and they can give you advice as to whether those experiments are feasible or ways in which you can add onto your question and/or methods.

Please post back if you have anymore questions!

Good luck,

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Re: Finding a Mentor

Postby Joselle24 » Fri Dec 06, 2013 12:07 am

Thank you for all the advice and help. I really appreciate it. I have contacted a professor near my area, they were very kind and said they will be able to work with me.

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