Anilena was born in Panama in the midst of one of the country's most traumatic events - the 1989 US invasion.
Originally trained as a psychologist in Panama, she then moved to the UK to complete a Master and PhD in Clinical and Health Psychology at the University of Manchester. She is not a clinician and doesn't wish to be one right now.
Her PhD explored the cultural fit and efficacy of transported cognitive-behavioral parenting interventions in high-risk communities in Panama.
She was a fellow of the National Secretariat of Science and Technology in Panama (SENACYT) and a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Queensland (Australia). She is currently a Junior Researcher (Postdoc) at Instituto de Investigaciones Cientificas y Servicios de Alta Tecnologia (Panama), a Honorary Research Associate at the University of Manchester (UK) and an Associate Researcher at Universidad Santa Maria la Antigua (Panama).