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 PubMed.org authored or co-authored by Dr. Harris.