Julie Urban

Assistant Head, Genomics & Microbiology Research Lab

11 West Jones Street, Raleigh, NC 27601


  • Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University at Albany, Albany, NY, 2008
  • M.S. in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior, University at Albany, Albany, NY, 2005
  • Ph.D. in Human Factors Psychology, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL, 1995
  • B.A. in Psychology, University of Dayton, Dayton, OH, 1990

Research Interests

Dr. Urban's research interests focus on two primary areas: planthoppers and microbial (i.e., bacterial and fungal) symbionts. Planthoppers are a diverse and often morphologically bizarre group of phloem-feeding insects in the Hemiptera. She performs phylogenetic reconstructions of relationships among planthopper lineages using molecular and morphological data, and test hypotheses concerning classification, biogeography, morphological character evolution, and coevolution of planthoppers with multiple endosymbionts. In addition to exploring the microbial diversity within planthoppers, she is also involved in collaborative investigations of microbial diversity in other unexplored habitats, currently, those found within human-associated Demodex mites and in the common dandelion, Taraxacum officinale.

Peer-reviewed Publications

  • Thoemmes, M.S., Fergus, D.J., Urban, J., Trautwein, M. and Dunn, R. 2014. Ubiquity and diversity of human-associated Demodex mites. PLOS One, 9(8), e106265.
  • Urban, J.M. and Cryan, J.R. 2012. Two Ancient Bacterial Endosymbionts Have Coevolved with the Planthoppers (Insecta: Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea). BMC Evolutionary Biology 12:87.
  • Cryan, J.R. and Urban, J.M. 2012. Higher-level phylogeny of the insect order Hemiptera: Is Auchenorrhyncha really paraphyletic? Systematic Entomology, 37, 7-21.

Fields of Research