Gabriel Cartagena, B.A.


Gabriel graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with a B.A. in Psychology and minor in Interdisciplinary Global Health. In Fall 2016, Gabriel became a National Institutes of Health Biomedical Learning and Training Scholar, conducting movement intervention research with Alaskan cancer survivors, as well as studying the viral mechanisms that facilitate Neurodegenerative AIDS using human neuroblastoma cells. In Spring 2016, Gabriel traveled to Durban, South Africa to conduct community-based participatory research on HIV survivorship among women in rural communities, in partnership with the Center for AIDS Prevention Research in South Africa (CAPRISA). Upon graduation, Gabriel served as a Mental Health Aid for children and adults with advanced cognitive disorders in rural Homagama, Sri Lanka. Gabriel also subsequently completed a clinical psychology internship at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), in Bangalore, India. Through these experiences, Gabriel has been trained in qualitative and quantitative data analyses, focus group development, cross-cultural clinical care, and health communication practices

Research & Clinical Focus

Gabriel is in the Medical and Health Psychology track. He works as a Graduate Research Assistant in the Psycho-Oncology Research Lab, mentored by Dr. Deidre Pereira. Gabriel is currently developing his Master’s Thesis analyzing mood and anxiety as predictors of post-operative immunological response in women with endometrial cancer to better understand the role psychotherapeutic intervention can play in facilitating positive immune responses and health outcomes in this population.

His primary research interest is in psychoneuroimmunology and the relationship between distress and immune response in individuals with cancer and cancer-causing infectious diseases. He has four current research focuses: 1) studying the relationship between mood, stress response, and gynecological cancer progression in women, 2) studying the psychoneuroimmunological pathways involved in trauma and cancer outcomes in adulthood, 3) studying cancer disparities in vulnerable populations, such as the LGBTQ+ community, and 4) finding ways to communicate research findings to inform at-risk communities.

Gabriel’s overarching goal is to conduct research that both informs clinical care and engages community members in improving their health outcomes.

Teaching Experience

Cartagena, G. (2018, January). HIV: Acquisition, Treatment, and Care from a Medical Psychology Perspective. Introduction to Health Psychology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida. 

 Cartagena, G. (2016, November). Fingerprints of Chronic Illness: Cross-Cultural Comparisons of Living With Disease. Culture, Health, and Medicine: Medical Anthropology Seminar, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska.

 Cartagena, G. (2016, October). The Impacts of Infectious Disease: HIV Treatment Across Borders. Health Psychology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska.


Cartagena, G., & Lopez, E. (2016). ‘I Don’t Want to Survive, I Want to Thrive’: A Cross-Cultural Comparison of Rural HIV/AIDS Survivorship in Fairbanks, Alaska and Vulindlela, South Africa. Manuscript in Preparation.


Donges, A., Cartagena, G., Laitner, M. & Waxenberg, L. (2018, February) The Development of a Grassroots Departmental Committee to Promote Multiculturalism, Advocacy, and Social Justice. College of Public Health and Health Professions Diversity Day Conference. Gainesville, FL.  

Waxenberg, L., Laitner, M., Cartagena, G. & Sweenie, R. (2018, January) What Motivates Academics to Social Justice? University of Florida Social Justice Summit. Gainesville, FL.


Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) 2016- Current

School for International Training Alumni Association 2016 – Current

American Psychological Association 2016 – Current

Additional Links

Photo exhibit documents Fairbanks residents living with HIV, AIDS