Group Leader

I am an associate professor at the Center for Genomic Sciences of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. I completed my post-doctoral training at the University of Chicago with Dr. John Novembre, and at Langebio-Cinvestav with Dr. Andres Moreno Estrada. I did my PhD in Systems Biology (in the lab of Dr. Shamil Sunyaev) and my AM in History of Science, both at Harvard University. I first moved west from my hometown of coastal Karachi, Pakistan for my undergraduate studies which I did in Biological Engineering at MIT. I am deeply passionate about genetic science, all things included – history and philosophy of, statistical methods, sampling design, writing and communication of results, intersections with society, and implications for our understanding of ourselves and our world today. I enjoy reading widely to inform my research questions and approaches while remaining grounded in genetics, statistics, computational biology and history, the subjects I have received formal training in. I am an avid traveler, a novice photographer and generally an adventurer.

More details about my academic trajectory here:


Incoming PhD Student

María Jose (Majo) is currently finishing her master's thesis under the joint supervision of Mashaal and Dr. Andres Moreno Estrada on the genetic analysis of sex-specific admixture in Mexico
using the MX Biobank. She is also applying to start her PhD in the Sohail lab focusing on using deep learning approaches to predict complex disease pre-disposition in humans.



PhD student

I am a Brazilian PhD student, currently enrolled at the Department of Internal Medicine from The Medical School of Ribeirao Preto (University of Sao Paulo - USP). UNAM and USP has a bilateral agreement to promote internships between institutions, my period at UNAM has been supported by the Funding Agencies from Brazil: CAPES and CNPq. The main focus of my thesis is to study obesity and related comorbidities. Since it is a multifactorial disease,  genetics, epigenetics and environmental factors are being considered. I chose this theme for my thesis because I am really interested in studying the effects of lifestyle in health. At the Sohail lab, I am working on data analysis to develop a Polygenic Risk Score for BMI in a Brazilian cohort.

In Brazil, I have been supervised by Professor Carla Barbosa Nonino, PhD, who is the current Coordinator of the Undergraduate Course of Nutrition and Metabolism, she has been working with obesity and metabolic diseases during all her career. 

During my free time I enjoy traveling and discovering new cultures, I am also passionate for snorkeling and marine creatures, I would like to have more time to engage myself in the Decade of Ocean and really do something helpful for marine conservation. 

More academic details at:


Undergraduate Student

I am finishing my degree in Biology at the Faculty of Biology at the Universidad Veracruzana. I am working on my undergraduate thesis under the supervision and with the support of Dr. Mashaal on the analysis of the genetic variants involved in mendelian disease in Mexico using the Mexican Biobank and other genomic resources. We are interested in evolutionary trade-offs and relationships with ancestry.


Mashaal is currently working with three undergraduates in the genomic sciences program:

  • Axel Zagal Norman 

  • Dante Torres Sepúlveda

  • Valeria Garibay 


  • Dr. Carlos Francisco Méndez Cruz (CCG, UNAM)

  • Dr. Diego Ortega Del Vecchyo (LIIGH, UNAM)

  • Dr. Andres Moreno Estrada (UGA-Langebio, Cinvestav)

  • Dr. John Novembre (U Chicago)

  • Dr. Lourdes Garcia Garcia (INSP, Mexico)

  • Dr. Teresa Tusie-Luna (INCMNSZ, UNAM)

  • Dr. Selene Fernandez (UGA-Langebio, Cinvestav)

  • Dr. Mark Jobling (U Leicester)

  • Dr. Chiara Batini (U Leicester)

  • Dr. Alex Mentzer (U Oxford)

  • Dr. Adrian Hill (U Oxford)

  • Dr. Aaron Ragsdale (UW Madison)

  • Dr. Stephan C. Schuster (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)

  • Dr. Chris Gignoux (U Colorado Boulder)

  • Dr. Genevieve Wojcik (Johns Hopkins)

  • Dr. Emilia Huerta-Sanchez (Brown University)