Clarissa Henry

Clarissa HenryProfessor of Biological Sciences

Degree: Ph.D. 2000 University of Washington
Phone: 207.581.2816
Website: The Henry Lab
Location: 217 Hitchner Hall


Research Topic:
Cell and molecular biology of segmentation and muscle development in Zebrafish

Research Program:
Muscle Development and Morphogenesis in Zebrafish

A large variety of diseases, both inherited and acquired, affect muscle tissues in humans. In order to prevent and/or treat such disease, it is necessary to understand the pathology at the cellular and molecular level. Because each step of muscle specification and differentiation translates to a progressive refinement of functional physiology, studying muscle development may lead to therapeutic insights. The goal of our laboratory is to elucidate the signaling networks that underlie the muscle morphogenesis.

We study skeletal muscle morphogenesis during zebrafish development. Skeletal muscle is comprised of segmentally reiterated myotomes. Like the mammalian tendon, the zebrafish myotome boundary transduces force from muscle to the skeletal system. Thus, myotome boundary formation, as well as skeletal muscle morphogenesis, is critical for normal development and muscle function. Our research investigates the morphogenetic signaling networks that underlie skeletal muscle and myotome boundary formation.

The zebrafish is an excellent model system with which to integrate the genetic, molecular, and cell biological mechanisms that underlie muscle development. Because the signaling networks that regulate muscle development are remarkably conserved among vertebrates, our studies may lead to novel insights into development of therapeutics for muscle and tendon diseases.


Goody MF, Sher RB, Henry CA. (2015) Hanging on for the ride: adhesion to the extracellular matrix mediates cellular responses in skeletal muscle morphogenesis and disease. Dev Biol., 401(1):75-91.

Goody, MF, Kelly, MW, Reynolds, CJ, Khalil A, Crawford BD, Henry CA. (2012) NAD+ biosynthesis ameliorates a zebrafish model of muscular dystrophy. PLoS Biol., 10(10).

Peterson, M.T., and Henry, C.A. (2010) Hedgehog signaling and laminin play unique and synergistic roles in muscle development. Developmental Dynamics, 239 (3): 905-13

Goody, M.F., Kelly, M.W., Lessard, K.N., Khalil, A., and Henry, C.A. (2010) Nrk2b-mediated NAD+ production regulates cell adhesion and is required for muscle morphogenesis in vivo. Developmental Biology, 344(2):809-26.

Goody, M.C. and Henry, C.A. (2010) Dynamic Interactions Between Cells and their Extracellular Matrix Mediate Embryonic Development. Molecular Reproduction and Development, DOI 10.1002/mrd.21157.

Snow, C.J., Goody, M., Kelly, M.W., Oster, E.C., Jones, R., Khalil, A., and Henry, C.A. (2008) Time-lapse analysis and mathematical characterization elucidate novel mechanisms underlying muscle morphogenesis. PLoS Genetics, 4(10):e1000219

Snow, C.J., Peterson, M.T., Khalil, A., and Henry, C.A. (2008) Muscle development is disrupted in zebrafish embyros deficient for Fibronectin. Developmental Dynamics, 237 (9): 2542-53

Kok, F.O., Oster, E., Mentzer, L., Hsieh, J., Henry, C.A., Sirotkin, H.I. (2007) The role of the SPT6 chromatin remodeling factor in zebrafish embryogenesis. Developmental Biology, 307:214-226.

Henry, C.A., Poage, C.T., McCarthy, M.B., Campos-Ortega, J., and Cooper, M.S. (2005) Segmentation is Regionally Autonomous within the Zebrafish Presomitic Mesoderm Zebrafish, 2(1):7-14.

Henry, C.A., McNulty, I.M., Durst, W.A., Munchel, S.E., and Amacher, S.L. (2005) Interactions Between Muscle Fibers and Segment Boundaries in Zebrafish. Developmental Biology, 287(2): 346-60

Henry, C.A., and Amacher, S.L. (2004) Zebrafish slow muscle migration induces a wave of fast muscle morphogenesis. Developmental Cell 7 (6) 917-923

Crawford, B.C., Henry, C.A., Todd, C., and Hille, M.B. (2003) Roles for Paxillin, Focal Adhesion Kinase, and Cadherin in early morphogenesis of Zebrafish embryos. Molecular Biology of the Cell, 14: 3065-3081.