Lab News

December 2022

  • Sana, Adam, and Hillary traveled to Emory University in Atlanta, GA to meet with Subra Kugathasan, Jason Matthews, and the rest of our Emory collaborators. They heard an amazing lecture by Dr. Claudio Fiocchi on the future of Big Data in clinical GI research and participated in the Emory Open Day hosted by the Kugathasan lab.
  • December has been busy, with three papers accepted for publication!
    • “Quantitative Morphometry and Machine-Learning Model to Explore Dudoenal and Rectal Mucosal Tissue of Children with Environmental Enteric Dysfunction” will be published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene, “Identifying metabolic shifts in Crohn’s disease using ‘omics-driven contextualized computational metabolic network models” will be published in Nature Scientific Reports, and “Ten simple rules for launching an academic research career” will be published in PLOS Computational Biology. Shout out to Fatima, Philip, Yash, and the rest of the lab, plus all of our other co-authors and collaborators on these papers!

November 2022

  • Sana gave an international presentation at the 2022 Falk Foundation Symposium, entitled “The new world of “-omics”: will machine learning and artificial intelligence help?”. This symposium focused on state-of-the-art management of IBD, bringing researchers and clinicians together from all around the world. Special thanks to Fatima for putting the slides together!
  • Enrollments finally begin for our human cell atlas project GutAGE!
    • This project, funded by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, will map the early childhood gut to better understand how ancestry, geography, and environment impact childhood development. Special thanks to Hillary and Fisher for leading the enrollments so far!

October 2022

  • We virtually attended the 2022 Grand Challenges Annual Meeting hosted by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 
  • This meeting aims to solve global health and developmental problems for those most in need by bringing together funding and research partners. Lots of interesting presentations on global health, nutrition, and the use of novel computational methods to identify new biomarkers of disease.
  • Sana helped moderate the 2022 NASPGHAN Annual Meeting.
    • After serving on the planning committee, Sana helped moderate the Single Topic Symposium “The Next 50 Years: Technology and the Future of Pediatric Gastroenterology”. She also presented “Face Recognition… but for GI Pathology” in the Data Science Workshop. Special thanks to Adam, Fatima, and Rasoul for their help with the presentation.
  • Sana and Adam participated in a highly informative and exciting Science Communication workshop hosted by the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science. Hawkeye himself was not there, but we learned a lot about understanding how to communicate with your audience. (
  • Congratulations to Fatima for being named UVA’s Uteam Member of the Month for Q3! We are so proud of her and can’t think of anyone more deserving than her for all her hard work leading SOAR this summer!
  • Our hard work on Crohn’s disease has been featured in a UVA Health Newsroom Article!
  • New Staff!
    • Hillary Paschall, BSN, RN, CCRC (Clinical Research Manager), Fisher Rhoads, BS (Research Assistant) and Robert Banks (Senior Administrative Assistant) joined the Syed Lab.

September 2022

  • We are excited to launch our Grand Challenges Annual Meeting Call to Action project 
    • We are grateful to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for funding our Grand Challenges project, entitled “Computational Interrogation of Early Signatures of Environmental Enteropathy” (hyperlink to In partnership with Dr. Imran Nisar and Dr. Junaid Iqbal at The Aga Khan University Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, we will use our computational metabolic modeling approach to investigate the maternal and infant signatures of environmental enteropathy. This work will help us better understand and manage this global health disease to ensure children all over the world live happy, healthy lives.

August 2022

  • SOAR graduation (no names, 2 graduates, gave amazing research talks to family, friends, mentors, and SOAR staff. Both will be applying to prestigious universities for 2023)
  • Sana was invited to speak in “The Roundtable: A Journal Club Series” hosted by the Aga Khan University Student Research Forum. She spoke with student researchers and clinicians about artificial intelligence and its implementation in biomedicine. Thanks to Maryam for her help.

July 2022

  • We are happy to announce that our first NIH-funded R01 has been awarded!
    • This project, entitled “Population-Based Characterization of Metabolic Pathways to Predict Pediatric Crohn’s Disease Outcomes” (hyperlink to will computationally model the metabolic pathways associated with pediatric subtypes of Crohn’s disease and identify novel therapeutic targets to improve patient outcomes. This work will be done in partnership with Dr. Jason Papin in the UVA Biomedical Engineering Department, Dr. Subra Kugathasan and Dr. Jason Matthews at Emory University, and Dr. Facundo Fernandez at Georgia Tech.
  • Our Manuscript Writing workshop at The Aga Khan University was a success! 
    • Thanks to Adam, Fatima, and Maryam for helping create this 2-day workshop helping early stage investigators and students improve their manuscript writing skills.