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MPhil in Health, Medicine and Society


Affiliated Lecturer
Philomathia Post-Doctoral Research Associate



I graduated from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile with a BA (Hons) in Sociology and completed an MSc in Medical Anthropology (2014) and a PhD in Anthropology (2018) from University College London. 

Since joining the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge in 2018, I have taught a range of lectures and seminars on the Anthropologies of Medicine; Gender Kinship and Care; and Science and Society; have co-organised multidisciplinary academic events and have been the co-investigator in a series of research grants. I am currently the lead on the "REPRESENT: A Community Engagement Roadmap to Improve Participant Representation in Cancer Research Early Detection" ACED pilot. I am also a Research Fellow at Robinson College, Cambridge.

Ignacia Arteaga on the Social Anthropology Department website


My scholarship engages with techno-scientific practices in cancer research and care in the UK. I look at the development and implementation of cancer technologies, such as molecular diagnostic devices, genomic risk-stratification algorithms, body-changing surgical techniques, chemotherapeutic agents and immunotherapies. I analyse the practices and temporalities that structure these domains as well as the myriad subjectivities and social effects that emerge as a result. Conceptually, I am interested in the potential of techno-scientific practices for bringing about new ontological realities that redefine cancer disease categories and lived experiences vis-à-vis notions of ‘engagement’ and ‘progress’ through which British residents are persuaded to take part in biomedical developments. 

My research has been funded by the Chilean National Agency for Research and Development, the Chilean Research Security Fund, the Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness, Cancer Research UK, the Philomathia Foundation, and the Alliance for the Early Detection of Cancer.

I am currently working on ANTHCED: An Anthropological study of the Early Detection of Cancer. This is an ethnographic research within a broad field that concerns the development of detection technologies through to their clinical use and social effects in the UK. Through detailed observations, sensitive conversations and careful participation, I trace the practices and experiences of ‘biomedical innovation’ in cancer detection that are articulated by scientists, engineers, clinicians, patients, biomedical research subjects and their support networks.  For more information about the study and incoming speaking engagements about the subject, please visit the ANTHCED project website.

Ignacia Arteaga


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