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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:


PhD Student

María Jose (Majo) is a PhD student in the Sohail lab studying (1) the use of deep learning approaches to predict complex disease pre-disposition in humans with a focus on Diabetes and (2) what kind of groupings and communities emerge from global genetic data using a network-based approach based on different genetic metrics and at different resolutions. She completed her master's thesis under the joint supervision of Dr. Mashaal and Dr. Andres Moreno Estrada on the genetic analysis of uniparental haplogroups and sex-specific admixture in Mexico using the MX Biobank.



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:


Post-Doctoral Research Fellow

Amara is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Sohail lab. Previously, she has completed her Ph.D. from University of Otago, New Zealand. She is originally from Pakistan and moved to New Zealand for her PhD studies, and has now joined the Sohail lab to further pursue her career in Population and Statistical Genetics and Genomics. She is interested in exploring the genetics of complex traits particularly focusing on mitochondrial genomes to address the question of why some diseases are  variable in prevalence across humans. Based on genetic variation among and within groups of humans, identifying population-specific genetic variants could lead to potential therapeutics.

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Post-doctoral Research Fellow

Dr. Bravo is interested in identifying and characterizing human and pathogen genomes from Pre-Hispanic and Colonial Mexicans. She is currently working on a project focused on identifying the causative agents of a deadly epidemic outbreak Cocoliztli (1545-1548) that occurred during the colonial period in Mexico. In addition, she integrates archeological and historical evidence into paleogenomics in order to shed light on both pathogens' evolutionary histories as well as their coevolutionary dynamics with their hosts. Her project is in collaboration with Dr. María Ávila Arcos (LIIGH-UNAM). She enjoys running and cooking vegetarian food.


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.



Undergraduate Student

I am an undergraduate student in the Genomic Sciences program at ENES Juriquilla, UNAM. I am deeply interested in the evolution of complex traits in ancient samples.  I am currently developing a project, under the supervision of Dr. V. Diego Ortega del Vecchyo and Dr. Mashaal Sohail, that aims to understand how genetic architecture, temporality and demographic history impact ancient phenotypes prediction. Furthermore, I will dedicate the last year of my bachelor’s program to research. I will be working jointly with Dr. Mashaal, Dr. Diego and Dr. Emilia Huerta to study the contribution of Neanderthal introgression to the heritability of complex traits in Mexicans. In my spare time, I enjoy working out and reading.


Post-doctoral Research Fellow

I’m Yuri, a PhD student in the graduate program for Interdisciplinary Sciences (UASLP, 2018 - present). Currently, I’m exploring how gene duplication affects evolutionary innovation in the Espinosa-Soto Computational Biology lab. Prior, I studied B.S. in Biophysics (UASLP 2016) and MSc in Interdisciplinary Sciences (UASLP 2018).
My academic training has been focused on interdisciplinary research such as neural cells manipulation with optical tweezers, cholesterol effect in cell membrane thermodynamics, bioinformatics analysis of genomic data for genetic diseases diagnose; and recently, an extensive study of evolution of gene regulatory networks.
Now, I’m part of the Sohail lab where I participate in the project “Desafiando las agrupaciones continentales de humanos en el Proyecto 1000 Genomas” as associated researcher.
In addition, I’m also deeply interested in science communication and scientific journalism, feminism, science fiction writing, and dog rescue.



Undergraduate student

Claudia is an undergraduate student in Physical Anthropology at the National School of Anthropology and History, currently carrying out her thesis project under the supervision of Dr. Víctor Acuña related to genetic variants present in Mexican population and their association with metabolic phenotypes. She has collaborated in some archaeological excavations in Mexico City, helping in the identification of human remains and the construction of individuals' biological profile found in archaeological context.
As part of the Sohail lab, she is participating in the project “Desafiando las agrupaciones continentales de humanos en el Proyecto 1000 Genomas.” Her main topics of interest are paleogenomics, molecular anthropology and forensic genetics, always considering human beings' interactions with their environment and culture. In her free time, she enjoys reading sci-fi, cycling and pampering her little kitten.


Undergraduate student

I’m Zara, an undergraduate student in the Genomic Sciences program at CCG-UNAM Cuernavaca, Morelos. I am interested in population and evolutionary genetics, as well as in bioethics and the impact of the genomic research within society. Currently I’m developing a project, under the supervision of Dr. Mashaal Sohail, that seeks to analyze the origins of ancestries from Asia in Latin America using data from de 1,000 Genomes Project.
In my free time I enjoy drawing and reading literature from different countries, especially Japanese literature. Additionally, I’m interested in philosophy and in learning about different cultures.



Undergraduate Student

I am an undergraduate student in Genomic Sciences by the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México at the Center for Genomic Sciences in Cuernavaca, Morelos. I’m interested in Population Genomics, Paleo Genomics, and the social impact both can have on society and history overall.
Currently working under the supervision of Dr. Mashaal with data from the Human Genome Diversity Project on indigenous populations of Pakistan in the search for natural selection with Population Branch Statistics.


Undergraduate Student

I am a genomics sciences undergraduate student interested in behavioral neuroscience, computational linguistics, and the application of machine learning for precision medicine. I am working with PhD student Maria José Palma and Dr. Mashaal Sohail in developing a deep learning approach to predict Type 2 Diabetes predisposition using data from the UK Biobank. I am also a TA for "Evolutionary Genomics II: Introduction to Population Genomics" course taught by Dr. Sohail in LCG. I enjoy 3D modeling, reading, and playing basketball in my spare time.



Undergraduate student

Iqui Balam Perez Martinez is a Mexican biology student at the Science Faculty of the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He is interested in bioinformatics, population genetics and molecular biology. He is currently working in the Sohail lab at the Center of Genomic Science, Cuernavaca, Morelos; dedicated to identifying haplogroups of chromosome Y and mitochondria prevalent in Pakistan using identification tools (YHaplo and Haplogrep); the data is taken from Human Genome Diversity Project (HGDP).


Undergraduate student

Luis Ramírez is an undergraduate student in genomic sciences by the National Autonomous University of Mexico at Centro de Ciencias Genómicas en Cuernavaca, Morelos. His research interests lean towards population genomics, paleogenomics, anthropology, philosophy of science and the social impact of science in society and for vulnerable groups. Under supervision of Dr. Mashaal Sohail, he is participating in a project to understand the genetic and linguistic structure of indigenous populations in Pakistan. In his free time, he enjoys reading, especially Latin American and horror authors, as well as creating music and watching cinema.



Undergraduate student

I am Brenda Elizabeth (Beth), an undergraduate student in the Bachelor's program of Genomic Sciences at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). I am deeply passionate about the field of genomics and its potential to provide insights into therapeutic treatments, as well as to shed light on the evolutionary history of living beings. I am currently working in the “Challenging continental ancestry groupings in humans” project under the supervision of Dr. Mashaal Sohail.
Beyond my academic pursuits, you'll often find me cooking in the kitchen or enjoying the company of my cherished cats. I am also passionate about learning new art technics such as watercolor painting.


  • 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. Vagheesh Narasimhan (UT Austin)

  • 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)

  • Dr. Arslan Zaidi (U Penn)

  • Dr. Tina Lasisi (Penn State University)

  • Dr. Kevin Bird (Michigan State University)

  • Dr. Anna Lewis (Harvard Medical School)

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