Zainab Neemuchwala

Meet Zainab Neemuchwala,

Zainab is a rising senior at Thousand Oaks High School, located in Southern California, and will graduate in 2022. Zainab seeks to combine her interests in biological sciences with her passion to make a difference in her community through service. For instance, she is a medical intern at Westminster Free Clinic that provides assistance to non-insured Ventura County patients in need of medical care. She is also the Gold Squad Captain of Ventura County’s Medical Explorer Post 911, where she is able to become hands-on with emergency assistance activities. Last year, Zainab was on the Simi Valley Youth Council and worked primarily in spreading awareness on mental health issues in her city. In addition to this, Zainab is a representative for her school on the Student District Advisory Council of Conejo Valley Unified School District, and is the student technology representative as well as an educational equity advocate. Last year, Zainab represented her county at the California Science and Engineering Fair on a project focusing on bioplastics. Through her school’s Center for Advanced Studies and Research, she conducted research on Cystic Fibrosis and gene modulator therapies. Additionally, her AP Seminar research paper focused on the intersection of economics and healthcare will be published in the Spring/Summer Edition of Dartmouth University’s Undergraduate Journal of Science (Building the Modern MD Competition). She also competed in Academic Decathlon and looks forward to being the captain of the team this upcoming school year. In her sophomore year, she was a young legislator for 44th District Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin. Lastly, she is the parliamentarian of her chapter’s National Charity League, and volunteers regularly in associated philanthropies. This volunteer work, as well as her Interfaith community service, earned her the Presidential Volunteer Service Award the past three years and a Rotary Club essay scholarship as well. 

In her free time, Zainab likes to spend time with her friends and family (especially at the beach), travel and see the world, run cross country, read, ride horses, and binge Gilmore Girls, Friends, and The Office. She is excited to see what the future holds for her after graduating high school, and hopes to continue being involved in research. Zainab plans on pursuing a higher education to study either computational biology, biology, biomedical engineering, bioengineering, or computer science to further her passion for STEM.

At Institute for Systems Biology this summer, Zainab is working with her partner Onyie Okoye and mentor Alex Carr in the Baliga Lab and Gibbons Lab on a project studying the intersection between biology and computer science through 16S rRNA gene sequencing in the human gut microbiome using different techniques on Google CoLaboratory. Her focus is on alcohol consumption and country of residence in relation to the CLR genus abundances and shannon diversity in the gut microbiome using the American Gut Project Database (read more about her and Onyie’s project here). Zainab is super grateful to have had the opportunity to work with Alex Carr, the Baliga and Gibbons Labs, Rachel Calder, Claudia Ludwig, Becky Howsmon, and everyone else at ISB for giving her such a meaningful and amazing experience this summer.

Contact: If you have any questions or comments please feel free to email