Dr. Julie Horvath is a comparative evolutionary genomicist interested in understanding the evolutionary forces that have shaped primate genomes and that cause human disease. Genetic and genomic comparisons between humans and our closest relatives, the primates, are crucial for understanding our own evolution and unique characteristics. The foundation of Dr. Horvaths research is based on species relationships, or phylogenies, which she first established for lemurs, and more recently, for all primates. These species relationships are applied to many of her research questions. Several examples of Horvaths research investigate the connection between genotype (DNA sequence) and phenotype (traits and characteristics) that make flora and fauna unique.
Dr. Horvath received a B.S. in Zoology with a concentration in Genetics from Michigan State University in 1996 and a Ph.D. in Genetics in 2004 from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Horvath is now the Director of the Genomics & Microbiology Research Laboratory in the Nature Research Center, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, and is jointly appointed as Research Associate Professor in the Biology Department at North Carolina Central University where she teaches courses and advises graduate students. Dr. Horvath serves as the co-advisor to the undergraduate Biology Society at NCCU.
In a recently initiated collaboration, Dr. Horvath, Dr. Urban of the NC Museum of Natural Sciences and Rob Dunns group at NC State are studying the microbes that live on human and non-human primate skin. Citizen scientists can help us explore some of the factors affecting microbe biodiversity, which are affected by our daily habits.