I was born and raised in California, USA. Before my move to Switzerland in 2016, I spent the previous 11 years in beautiful “Surf City” Santa Cruz, California.IMG_4937.jpg

After completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of California Santa Cruz in 2009, I managed Professor William M. Saxton’s lab at UCSC for close to two years. While lab manager, I studied axonal transport of mitochondria and other cellular organelles in Drosophila neurons and how defects in this process contribute to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The lab’s focus was primarily on the motor proteins Kinesin and Dynein, with a smaller emphasis on the roles of Myosin.

In 2010, I joined the Ph.D. graduate program in Biomedical Sciences and Engineering at UCSC. I joined Professor Alan M. Zahler’s lab, a member of The Center for Molecular Biology of RNA at the institute. The Zahler lab has classically studied alternative splicing of mRNAs, the spliceosome and other associated RNA-binding proteins in the model organism C. elegans. My project however, focused on studying the biogenesis and function of sRNAs in the ciliate Oxytricha trifallax. Ultimately, through high throughput sequencing, we identified hundreds of genes contributing to macronuclear development during the sexual stage of the ciliate life cycle, many of which encode proteins that are well-conserved among multicellular eukaryotes, including many with links to germline functions or development. In June of 2016, I completed my Ph.D. with an emphasis on Molecular Biology, from the University of California Santa Cruz.


In September of 2016, I joined the Nowacki lab at the University of Bern as a Postdoctoral Researcher. I am currently investigating the roles of putative Paramecium reverse transcriptases.



Neeb, Z.T., Hogan, D.J., Katzman, S., Zahler, A.M. (2017). Preferential expression of scores of functionally and evolutionarily diverse DNA and RNA-binding proteins during Oxytricha trifallax macronuclear Development. PLoS ONE 12(2): e0170870

Neeb, Z.T. and Zahler, A.M. (2014). An expanding world of small RNAs. Dev Cell. 28(2):111-2.

Zahler, A.M., Neeb, Z.T., Lin, A., and Katzman, S. (2012). Mating of the stichotrichous ciliate Oxytricha trifallax induces production of 27 nt small RNAs derived from the parental macronucleus. PLoS ONE 7(8): e42371.

Neeb, Z.T. and Nowacki, M. (2018). RNA-mediated transgenerational inheritance in ciliates and plants. Chromosoma, 127 (1), pp. 19-27.

Michelini, Flavia; Jalihal, Ameya P.; Francia, Sofia; Meers,Chance; Neeb, Zachary T.;  Rossiello, Francesca Gioia, Ubaldo; Aguado, Julio;  Jones-Weinert, Corey;  Luke, Brian;  BiamontiGiuseppe Nowacki, Mariusz; Storici, Francesca; CarninciPiero Walter, Nils G. d’Adda di Fagagna, Fabrizio (2018). From “Cellular” RNA to “Smart” RNA: Multiple Roles of RNA in Genome Stability and Beyond. Chem. Rev.


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