The genetic regulation of postembryonic development and its role in generation of form, physiology, and manifestation of disease.

The Harris laboratory studies fish as a model to understand the genetic regulation of ‘postembryonic’ development of the skeleton and the inherent capacity for growth and repair in vertebrates. We use the power of forward genetics in fishes as a means to identify genetic variants that regulate development of adult form as well as the regulation of life history strategies. Fishes provide excellent tools in which to study gene function in development as the growth and development of fish, such as the zebrafish, can be viewed in real time. 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 genomic and embryological studies in other fish species are conducted to take advantage of evolutionary experiments that reveal the genetic diversity among fish and the varied means by which they regulate development.

The Harris lab is located in Orthopaedic Research Laboratories in the Enders building of Children’s Hospital Boston. The position within the research community at the hospital allows for productive interaction between our group and clinical researchers. The lab is a part of the Genetics Department at Harvard Medical School and interacts with the community within the Department as well as within the broader Longwood Campus.

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