Neta Zuckerman

Neta Zuckerman

Position: Head of the Bioinformatics and Genomics National Center in Israel’s Ministry of Health National Virology Laboratory
Research focus: Clinical and environmental surveillance of viruses within the interest of public health in Israel My research focuses on clinical and environmental surveillance of viruses within the interest of public health in Israel. Specifically, we conduct metagenomic virome discovery in a myriad of clinical and environmental samples for surveillance and diagnosis purposes, molecular phylogenetics to characterize viral outbreaks and gene expression to studies viral infections. During COVID, the center plays a pivotal role in affecting Israel’s public health policies by leading Israel’s SARS-CoV-2 sequencing consortium and performing variant surveillance and discovery in clinical and wastewater specimen in Israel.

What do you love about viruses?
It always fascinated me how a thing so small and invisible can cause so much trouble.

Who is your favourite scientist and why?
In the world of viruses it is Emma Hodcroft, who stepped up to the challenge in the very beginning of the COVID pandemic, and came up with coherent SARS-CoV-2 variant nomenclature and tools for the world to use.

On what topic could you give a 30-minute presentation without any preparation?
SARS-CoV-2 variant surveillance in Israel from 2020 to today.

What is your favourite way to spend a day off?
At the beach

What are you currently learning?
Following one poliovirus outbreak and into the second, I’m currently learning the ”insides” of polivirus-related global regulations, muta- tion counting and molecular clocks.

If you could create a new invention, what would it be?
Definitely teleportation!

What is the coolest thing about your research?
The coolest thing about my research is that it has an impact on public health in Israel.

For which project idea are you still looking for a cooperation partner?
I’m always looking for collaborations, any project that has to do with viruses of public health interest is great.

If you were completely free to choose a scientific topic to work on, which would it be?
exactly what I’m doing now 🙂

If you had the option to advise a younger version of yourself, what would that be?
Do only what makes you excited when you wake up every morning.