Research Overview

The Harris laboratory studies fish as a model to understand the development of the skeleton and the inherent capacity for growth and repair in vertebrates. We use the power of forward genetics in the zebrafish as a means to identify genetic variants that regulate growth and form of the adult fish skeleton. These findings are then analyzed in the mouse and other vertebrates to understand the conservation of these mechanisms and the growth potential within the developing skeleton. In parallel to work in the zebrafish, comparative studies in other fish species are being conducted to take advantage of the genetic diversity among fish and the varied means by which they regulate development. The work in the lab has uncovered novel mechanisms by which size control is developmentally regulated that involve cell-extracellular matrix interactions as well as control of electrochemical signaling in tissues. Additionally, through the analysis of late development, we have identified genes that regulate the maintenance of tissues and the onset of pathologies associated with aging. We are currently investigating these genes and their role in vertebrate aging.

Articles on authored or co-authored by Dr. Harris.



  • English

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Researcher Areas

  • Orthopedics: Skeletal Development

Research Departments

Researcher Labs


Publications powered by Harvard Catalyst Profiles

  1. Daane JM, Dornburg A, Smits P, MacGuigan DJ, Brent Hawkins M, Near TJ, William Detrich Iii H, Harris MP. Historical contingency shapes adaptive radiation in Antarctic fishes. Nat Ecol Evol. 2019 Jul; 3(7):1102-1109. View abstract
  2. Gistelinck C, Kwon RY, Malfait F, Symoens S, Harris MP, Henke K, Hawkins MB, Fisher S, Sips P, Guillemyn B, Bek JW, Vermassen P, De Saffel H, Witten PE, Weis M, De Paepe A, Eyre DR, Willaert A, Coucke PJ. Zebrafish type I collagen mutants faithfully recapitulate human type I collagenopathies. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2018 08 21; 115(34):E8037-E8046. View abstract
  3. Daane JM, Lanni J, Rothenberg I, Seebohm G, Higdon CW, Johnson SL, Harris MP. Bioelectric-calcineurin signaling module regulates allometric growth and size of the zebrafish fin. Sci Rep. 2018 Jul 10; 8(1):10391. View abstract
  4. Harris MP, Arratia G. Patterning the spine. Elife. 2018 05 16; 7. View abstract
  5. Parsons KJ, Son YH, Crespel A, Thambithurai D, Killen S, Harris MP, Albertson RC. Conserved but flexible modularity in the zebrafish skull: implications for craniofacial evolvability. Proc Biol Sci. 2018 04 25; 285(1877). View abstract
  6. Webster KA, Henke K, Ingalls DM, Nahrin A, Harris MP, Siegfried KR. Cyclin-dependent kinase 21 is a novel regulator of proliferation and meiosis in the male germline of zebrafish. Reproduction. 2018 Apr 01; 157(4):383-398. View abstract
  7. Henke K, Daane JM, Hawkins MB, Dooley CM, Busch-Nentwich EM, Stemple DL, Harris MP. Genetic Screen for Postembryonic Development in the Zebrafish (Danio rerio): Dominant Mutations Affecting Adult Form. Genetics. 2017 10; 207(2):609-623. View abstract
  8. Charles JF, Sury M, Tsang K, Urso K, Henke K, Huang Y, Russell R, Duryea J, Harris MP. Utility of quantitative micro-computed tomographic analysis in zebrafish to define gene function during skeletogenesis. Bone. 2017 Aug; 101:162-171. View abstract
  9. Macinko J, Harris MJ, Rocha MG. Introduction to the Special Edition on the Brazilian National Program to Improve Primary Care Access and Quality (PMAQ). J Ambul Care Manage. 2017 Apr/Jun; 40 Suppl 2:S1-S3. View abstract
  10. Macinko J, Harris MJ, Rocha MG. Brazil's National Program for Improving Primary Care Access and Quality (PMAQ): Fulfilling the Potential of the World's Largest Payment for Performance System in Primary Care. J Ambul Care Manage. 2017 Apr/Jun; 40 Suppl 2 Supplement, The Brazilian National Program for Improving Primary Care Access and Quality (PMAQ):S4-S11. View abstract
  11. Harris MP, Hawkins MB. Out of the Mouth of Minnows. Dev Cell. 2015 Nov 09; 35(3):263-4. View abstract
  12. Daane JM, Rohner N, Konstantinidis P, Djuranovic S, Harris MP. Parallelism and Epistasis in Skeletal Evolution Identified through Use of Phylogenomic Mapping Strategies. Mol Biol Evol. 2016 Jan; 33(1):162-73. View abstract
  13. Hu WF, Pomp O, Ben-Omran T, Kodani A, Henke K, Mochida GH, Yu TW, Woodworth MB, Bonnard C, Raj GS, Tan TT, Hamamy H, Masri A, Shboul M, Al Saffar M, Partlow JN, Al-Dosari M, Alazami A, Alowain M, Alkuraya FS, Reiter JF, Harris MP, Reversade B, Walsh CA. Katanin p80 regulates human cortical development by limiting centriole and cilia number. Neuron. 2014 Dec 17; 84(6):1240-57. View abstract
  14. Harris MP, Purcell P. The Society of Craniofacial Genetics and Developmental Biology 36th annual meeting. Am J Med Genet A. 2014 Aug; 164A(8):1873-90. View abstract
  15. Perathoner S, Daane JM, Henrion U, Seebohm G, Higdon CW, Johnson SL, Nüsslein-Volhard C, Harris MP. Bioelectric signaling regulates size in zebrafish fins. PLoS Genet. 2014 Jan; 10(1):e1004080. View abstract
  16. Henke K, Bowen ME, Harris MP. Identification of mutations in zebrafish using next-generation sequencing. Curr Protoc Mol Biol. 2013 Oct 11; 104:Unit 7.13. View abstract
  17. Henke K, Bowen ME, Harris MP. Perspectives for identification of mutations in the zebrafish: making use of next-generation sequencing technologies for forward genetic approaches. Methods. 2013 Aug 15; 62(3):185-96. View abstract
  18. Levesque MP, Krauss J, Koehler C, Boden C, Harris MP. New tools for the identification of developmentally regulated enhancer regions in embryonic and adult zebrafish. Zebrafish. 2013 Mar; 10(1):21-9. View abstract
  19. Dauber A, Lafranchi SH, Maliga Z, Lui JC, Moon JE, McDeed C, Henke K, Zonana J, Kingman GA, Pers TH, Baron J, Rosenfeld RG, Hirschhorn JN, Harris MP, Hwa V. Novel microcephalic primordial dwarfism disorder associated with variants in the centrosomal protein ninein. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Nov; 97(11):E2140-51. View abstract
  20. Chen YY, Harris MP, Levesque MP, Nüsslein-Volhard C, Sonawane M. Heterogeneity across the dorso-ventral axis in zebrafish EVL is regulated by a novel module consisting of sox, snail1a and max genes. Mech Dev. 2012 Mar-Jun; 129(1-4):13-23. View abstract
  21. Bowen ME, Henke K, Siegfried KR, Warman ML, Harris MP. Efficient mapping and cloning of mutations in zebrafish by low-coverage whole-genome sequencing. Genetics. 2012 Mar; 190(3):1017-24. View abstract
  22. Norton WH, Stumpenhorst K, Faus-Kessler T, Folchert A, Rohner N, Harris MP, Callebert J, Bally-Cuif L. Modulation of Fgfr1a signaling in zebrafish reveals a genetic basis for the aggression-boldness syndrome. J Neurosci. 2011 Sep 28; 31(39):13796-807. View abstract
  23. Rohner N, Perathoner S, Frohnhöfer HG, Harris MP. Enhancing the efficiency of N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea-induced mutagenesis in the zebrafish. Zebrafish. 2011 Sep; 8(3):119-23. View abstract
  24. Konstantinidis P, Harris MP. Same but different: ontogeny and evolution of the Musculus adductor mandibulae in the Tetraodontiformes. J Exp Zool B Mol Dev Evol. 2011 Jan 15; 316(1):10-20. View abstract
  25. Volkmann K, Chen YY, Harris MP, Wullimann MF, Köster RW. The zebrafish cerebellar upper rhombic lip generates tegmental hindbrain nuclei by long-distance migration in an evolutionary conserved manner. J Comp Neurol. 2010 Jul 15; 518(14):2794-817. View abstract
  26. Rohner N, Bercsényi M, Orbán L, Kolanczyk ME, Linke D, Brand M, Nüsslein-Volhard C, Harris MP. Duplication of fgfr1 permits Fgf signaling to serve as a target for selection during domestication. Curr Biol. 2009 Oct 13; 19(19):1642-7. View abstract
  27. Harris MP, Rohner N, Schwarz H, Perathoner S, Konstantinidis P, Nüsslein-Volhard C. Zebrafish eda and edar mutants reveal conserved and ancestral roles of ectodysplasin signaling in vertebrates. PLoS Genet. 2008 Oct 03; 4(10):e1000206. View abstract
  28. Harris MP, Hasso SM, Ferguson MW, Fallon JF. The development of archosaurian first-generation teeth in a chicken mutant. Curr Biol. 2006 Feb 21; 16(4):371-7. View abstract
  29. Harris MP, Williamson S, Fallon JF, Meinhardt H, Prum RO. Molecular evidence for an activator-inhibitor mechanism in development of embryonic feather branching. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Aug 16; 102(33):11734-9. View abstract
  30. Harris MP, Linkhart BL, Fallon JF. Bmp7 mediates early signaling events during induction of chick epidermal organs. Dev Dyn. 2004 Sep; 231(1):22-32. View abstract
  31. Harris MJ, Arias IM. FIC1, a P-type ATPase linked to cholestatic liver disease, has homologues (ATP8B2 and ATP8B3) expressed throughout the body. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2003 Jul 21; 1633(2):127-31. View abstract
  32. Harris MP, Fallon JF, Prum RO. Shh-Bmp2 signaling module and the evolutionary origin and diversification of feathers. J Exp Zool. 2002 Aug 15; 294(2):160-76. View abstract