Gabriel Cartagena: BLaST Scientist of the Month

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Gabriel is a BLaST Scholar and a Psychology major with a Global Health minor. He is interested in the intersection of psychology, biomedicine, and public health. In addition to behavior change in substance use, Gabriel’s main interests are in the impact of chronic illness and infectious disease on well-being. He intends to continue on to a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and Masters in Public Health, with the long-term goal of practicing as a clinician for underrepresented populations.


Gabriel has been a guest lecturer for undergraduate courses such as Health Psychology (PSY 469) and Medical Anthropology (ANTH 492).


Throughout his undergraduate career, Gabriel has participated in many different research projects from psychological science to neuroscience. His core study interest involves understanding HIV/AIDS survivorship and quality of life. Gabriel has conducted extensive investigations on HIV/AIDS in Alaska and rural South Africa. As part of his Honors thesis, he is working to develop a cross-cultural comparison of HIV/AIDS survivorship to help inform treatment and community care. Gabriel also works in a biochemistry laboratory studying the impact of HIV protein gp120 on neurodegeneration.


Gabriel enjoys interdisciplinary scientific mentorship by working with those in psychology: Dr. Ellen Lopez, Dr. Mike Worrall, Dr. Daní Sheppard, Dr. Jennifer Peterson, and graduate student Hugh Leonard, and those in biochemistry: Dr. Thomas Kuhn and graduate student, Lisa Smith. As a senior student, he finds himself inspired by the incredible collaborative mentorship received and intends to work with other psychology students as a mentor in classes, research, and professional development.


The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.
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