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, 2008
  • Master of Public Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, 2010
  • General Surgery Residency, Howard University Hospital, 2017
  • Advanced GI and Minimally Invasive Surgery Fellowship, University of Maryland Medical Center, 2018
  • Complex General Surgical Oncology Fellowship, MD Anderson Cancer Center, 2020

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.

Recent Publications

  • Cancer research funding data to drive collaboration and inform action.
    Garton EM, Cheetham M, Cira MK, Davies L, Mitrou P, Perin DP, Ross AL, Zafar SN, Duncan K
    Lancet Oncol 2023 Jun; 24(6): 584-586
    [PubMed ID: 37269838]

  • Barriers to Surgical Outcomes Research in Low- and Middle-Income Countries: A Scoping Review.
    Mughal NA, Hussain MH, Ahmed KS, Waheed MT, Munir MM, Diehl TM, Zafar SN
    J Surg Res 2023 Oct; 290: 188-196
    [PubMed ID: 37269802]

  • Readiness for implementation of novel digital health interventions for postoperative monitoring: a systematic review and clinical innovation network analysis.
    McLean KA, Knight SR, Diehl TM, Varghese C, Ng N, Potter MA, Zafar SN, Bouamrane MM, Harrison EM
    Lancet Digit Health 2023 May; 5(5): e295-e315
    [PubMed ID: 37100544]

  • Accuracy of models to prognosticate survival after surgery for pancreatic cancer in the era of neoadjuvant therapy.
    Marcinak CT, Parker WF, Parikh AA, Datta J, Maithel SK, Kooby DA, Burkard ME, Kim HJ, LeCompte MT, Afshar M, Churpek MM, Zafar SN
    J Surg Oncol 2023 Aug; 128(2): 280-288
    [PubMed ID: 37073788]

  • Peritoneal recurrence after resection for Stage I-III colorectal cancer: A population analysis.
    Aiken T, Hu CY, Uppal A, Francescatti AB, Fournier KF, Chang GJ, Zafar SN
    J Surg Oncol 2023 Mar; 127(4): 678-687
    [PubMed ID: 36519668]

All Publications on PubMed