Curriculum Vitae


2016: PhD, Department of Genetics, Stanford University, CA
2007: BA, Department of Molecular & Cell Biology, Department of Integrative Biology (double major), UC Berkeley, CA

Research Experience:

2010 – current: PhD Student, Stanford University, advised by Dmitri Petrov

Research title: Investigating genomic patterns and evolutionary fates of new mutations using mathematical modeling, experimental, and computational approaches

2008–2010: Staff Research Associate, UC Berkeley, advised by Zac Cande

Research title: Probing for evolutionary conserved cytoskeletal dynamics in the basal eukaryotes Giardia intestinalis and Naegleria gruberi

2007–2008: Undergraduate Researcher, UC Berkeley, advised by Abby Dernburg

Research title: The role of plk-2 in orchestrating chromosome dynamics during meiosis in the nematode C. elegans

Technical Expertise

• Expert in R, Bioconductor for R, Perl, shell scripting, and LaTeX. Familiar with Python, C++, Java, and Mathematica.
• Expert in pipeline development for next-generation sequence data, and
population genetics statistics, model development, and forward simulations.

• Immunofluorescence staining, microscopy, cDNA library construction, Yeast Two
Hybrid analysis, RNAi, plasmid design and construction, endocytosis assays,
Western blots, qPCR, among others. Worked with model organisms Mus
musculus, C. elegans, Drosophila melanogaster, Giardia lamblia, Saccharomyces
cerevisiae, E. coli, and Naegleria gruberi.


(* contributed equally to this work)

Assaf ZJ, Susanne Tilk, Jane Park, Mark Siegal, Petrov DA. Deep sequencing of natural and experimental populations of Drosophila melanogaster reveals biases in the spectrum of new mutations. (In preparation)

Wilson BA*, Garud NR*, Feder AF*, Assaf ZJ*, Pennings PS. The population genetics of drug resistance evolution in viral, bacterial, and eukaryotic pathogens. Molecular Ecology (2016). Jan;25(1):42-66. PMID: 26578204. Review. | PubMed

Assaf ZJ, Petrov DA*, Blundell JR*. Obstruction of adaptation in diploids by recessive, strongly deleterious alleles. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2015). 19;112(20)E2658-66. PMID: 25941393 | PubMed

Carpenter ML, Assaf ZJ, Gourguechon S, Cande WZ. Nuclear inheritance and genetic exchange without meiosis in the binucleate parasite Giardia intestinalis. Journal of Cell Science (2012). 125(Pt 10):2523-32. PMID: 22366460 | PubMed

Harper NC*, Rillo R*, Jover-Gil S*, Assaf ZJ, Bhalla N, Dernburg AF. Pairing centers recruit a Polo-like kinase to orchestrate meiotic chromosome dynamics in C. elegans. Developmental Cell (2011). 21(5):934-47. PMID: 22018922 | PubMed

Paredez AR, Assaf ZJ, Sept D, Timofejeva L, Dawson SC, Wang CJ, Cande WZ. An actin cytoskeleton with evolutionarily conserved functions in the absence of canonical actin-binding proteins. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2011). 108(15):6151-6. PMID: 21444821 | PubMed

Fritz-Laylin LK, Assaf ZJ, Chen S, Cande WZ. Naegleria gruberi de novo basal body assembly occurs via stepwise incorporation of conserved proteins. Eukaryotic Cell (2010). 9(6):860-5. PMID: 20400468 | PubMed


2011 – current: NSF Graduate Research Fellow
2013 – current: Graduate student travel awards from VPGE, Bio-X, and Dept. of
Ecology & Evolution, Stanford University, CA
2013:  W.D. Hamilton Award for Student Talk, 2nd place, Evolution meeting, UT


Oral Presentations
2016: The Allied Genetics Conference (TAGC), Orlando, FL
2015: Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution (SMBE), Vienna, Austria
2015: Stanford Symposium on Genomics and Personalized Medicine
2014: Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution (SMBE), Puerto Rico
2014: Bay Area Population Genetics Symposium, Stanford, CA
2013: Evolution meeting (awarded W.D. Hamilton Award, 2nd place), UT

Poster presentations:
2013 – 2016: Annual Stanford Bio-X Interdisciplinary Initiatives Symposium,
2013: Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution (SMBE), Chicago, IL
2013: Bay Area Population Genetics Symposium, Berkeley, CA
2012:  Biomedical Computation at Stanford Conference, Stanford, CA


2013 – 2015: Mentor for undergraduate and high school research assistants
2012 – 2015: Teaching Assistant for Stanford at The Tech, an outreach program that brings science to the public and local highschools
2011: Volunteer teacher for NAMI’s Family-to-Family program, a 12-week course for family caregivers of individuals with severe mental illnesses