Clinical Information


Syed Nabeel Zafar, MD, MPH

Assistant Professor

  • Division of Surgical Oncology
(608) 262-2025


  • Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, Aga Khan University Medical College
  • Master of Public Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health
  • General Surgery Residency, Howard University Hospital
  • Advanced GI and Minimally Invasive Surgery Fellowship, University of Maryland Medical Center
  • Complex General Surgical Oncology Fellowship, MD Anderson Cancer Center

Clinical Specialties

Dr Zafar is fellowship trained in both Minimally Invasive Surgery and in Cancer Surgery. He is certified by the American Board of Surgery and the American Board of Medical Quality. Dr Zafar is an active member of several professional societies including the Association of Academic Surgeons, the Society of Surgical Oncology, the American College of Surgeons, and the Association of Global Academic Surgeons.

His clinical focus is in gastrointestinal malignancies and especially laparoscopic and Robotic approached to cancer surgery. Dr Zafar specializes in malignant disease of the pancreas, liver, gallbladder, biliary tree, stomach, small intestine, neuroendocrine tumors, gastrointestinal stromal tumors, retroperitoneal sarcoma and in peritoneal surface malignancies including cytoreductive and HIPEC procedures.

Research Interests

Dr. Zafar conducts health services research and research on global oncology/global surgery. He analyzes large datasets to study outcomes after cancer surgery, as well as disparities in outcomes after surgical care. His research also focuses on improving cancer care delivery and cancer surgery in low-and middle-income countries.

Dr. Zafar was awarded a 3-year, $120,000 grant from the Baldwin Wisconsin Idea Endowment to support work he is doing in Sub-Saharan Africa. Read more here.

Recent Publications

  • HSR24-127: Rectal Cancer Disparities in Age and Overall Survival Among American Indian and Alaska Native Vs Non-Hispanic White Populations.
    Kelley BS, Walker MR, Hampton JM, Zafar SN, Carroll CB, Hayden D, Schiefelbein A, Thompson BB, LoConte NK
    J Natl Compr Canc Netw 2024 Apr 05; 22(2.5)
    [PubMed ID: 38579795]

  • Beyond Borders: Insights from the SSAT Junior Surgeon Travel Exchange Program.
    Szor DJ, Zafar SN, Weber S, Ribeiro U
    J Gastrointest Surg 2024 Apr 03;
    [PubMed ID: 38579931]

  • The global burden of cervical cancer requiring surgery: database estimates.
    Allanson ER, Zafar SN, Anakwenze CP, Schmeler KM, Trimble EL, Grover S
    Infect Agent Cancer 2024 Feb 26; 19(1): 5
    [PubMed ID: 38409082]

  • Global Cancer Surgery: pragmatic solutions to improve cancer surgery outcomes worldwide.
    Are C, Murthy SS, Sullivan R, Schissel M, Chowdhury S, Alatise O, Anaya D, Are M, Balch C, Bartlett D, Brennan M, Cairncross L, Clark M, Deo SVS, Dudeja V, D'Ugo D, Fadhil I, Giuliano A, Gopal S, Gutnik L, Ilbawi A, Jani P, Kingham TP, Lorenzon L, Leiphrakpam P, Leon A, Martinez-Said H, McMasters K, Meltzer DO, Mutebi M, Zafar SN, Naik V, Newman L, Oliveira AF, Park DJ, Pramesh CS, Rao S, Subramanyeshwar Rao T, Bargallo-Rocha E, Romanoff A, Rositch AF, Rubio IT, Salvador de Castro Ribeiro H, Sbaity E, Senthil M, Smith L, Toi M, Turaga K, Yanala U, Yip CH, Zaghloul A, Anderson BO
    Lancet Oncol 2023 Dec; 24(12): e472-e518
    [PubMed ID: 37924819]

  • ASO Author Reflections: Neighborhood Disadvantage and Pancreas Cancer Surgical Outcomes.
    Marcinak CT, Zafar SN
    Ann Surg Oncol 2024 Jan; 31(1): 550-551
    [PubMed ID: 37851199]

All Publications on PubMed