Clarissa Henry


  • B.S. Biology, University of Utah, 1995
  • Ph.D. University of Washington, 2000

Research Interests

The goal of my research program is to understand how dynamic interactions between cells and their extracellular matrix mediate morphogenesis, and how disruption of cell-matrix interactions leads to disease states. Aberrant cell-matrix interactions cause or exacerbate many musculoskeletal disorders such as myopathies, tendonitis, traumatic muscle injuries, arthritis, and sarcopenia. My lab primarily focuses on how signaling between muscle cells and their extracellular matrix mediates musculoskeletal development and homeostasis with the goal of discovering new approaches for treatment of myopathies and traumatic muscle injuries.

Our rigorous focus on mechanisms that mediate changes in the extracellular matrix led us to discover a novel cell adhesion pathway required for laminin polymerization at the myotendinous junction in vivo. We found that Nrk2b-mediated NAD+ synthesis potentiates laminin polymerization during development. We then found that activation of the Nrk2b pathway through NAD+ supplementation is sufficient to augment laminin polymerization and improve muscle structure and function in dystrophic embryos (dystroglycan-deficient zebrafish). This work was published in PLoS Biology and recommended to Faculty of 1000.

Current focuses of our lab include identifying mechanisms of the Nrk2b pathway, characterizing neuromusculoskeletal development in zebrafish models of dystroglycanopathies, and elucidating mechanisms underlying extracellular matrix changes in muscle development, aging, and disease.

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Selected Publications

  • Farr GH 3rd, Morris M, Gomez A, Pham T, Kilroy E, Parker EU, Said S, Henry C, Maves L. A novel chemical-combination screen in zebrafish identifies epigenetic small molecule candidates for the treatment of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Skelet Muscle. 2020 Oct 15;10(1):29. PMID: 33059738.
  • Bailey EC, Alrowaished SS, Kilroy EA, Crooks ES, Drinkert DM, Karunasiri CM, Belanger JJ, Khalil A, Kelley JB, Henry CA. NAD+ improves neuromuscular development in a zebrafish model of FKRP-associated dystroglycanopathy. Skelet Muscle. 2019 Aug 7;9(1):21. doi: 10.1186/s13395-019-0206-1.
  • Glenn NO, Henry CA. How muscle contraction strengthens tendons. Elife. 2019 Jan 24;8:e44149. doi: 10.7554/eLife.44149.
  • Goody, MF, Henry, CA (2018) A need for NAD+ in muscle development, homeostasis, and aging. Invited review (peer-reviewed) Skeletal Muscle, 2018 8:9
  • Coffey EC, Pasquarella ME, Goody MF, Henry, CA. (2018) Ethanol Exposure Causes Muscle Degeneration in Zebrafish. Journal of Developmental Biology, 6(1), 7. Doi: 10.3390/jdb6010007
  • Goody M, Jurczyszak D, Kim C, Henry C. (2017) Influenza A Virus Infection Damages Zebrafish Skeletal Muscle and Exacerbates Disease in Zebrafish Modeling Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. PLoS Currents Muscular Dystrophy, 2017;9. PMID: 29188128
  • Goody MF, Carter EV, Kilroy EA, Maves L, Henry, CA. (2017) “Muscling” throughout life: Integrating studies of muscle development, homeostasis, and disease in zebrafish. Invited review (peer-reviewed). Current topics in developmental biology, 2017;124:197-234. PMID: 28335860
  • Jenkins, MH, Alrowaished SS, Goody MF, Crawford BD, Henry, CA. (2016). Laminin and Matrix Metalloproteinase 11 regulate Fibronectin levels in the zebrafish myotendinous junction. Skeletal Muscle, 2016; 6:18. PMID 27141287
  • Goody, M.F., Sher, R.B., Henry, C.A. (2015) Hanging on for the ride: Adhesion to the extracellular matrix mediates cellular responses in skeletal muscle morphogenesis and disease. Invited review (peer-reviewed). Developmental Biology, doi:10.1016/j.ydbio.2015.01.002
  • Goody, M.F. and Henry, C.A. (2013). Motility Assay for Zebrafish Embryos. Bio-protocol 3(11): e787. DOI: 10.21769/BioProtoc.787.
  • Goody, M.F. and Henry, C.A. (2013). Phalloidin Staining and Immunohistochemistry of Zebrafish Embryos. Bio-protocol 3(11): e786. DOI: 10.21769/BioProtoc.786.
  • Goody, M.F., Kelly, M.W., Reynolds, C.J., Khalil, A., Crawford, B.D., Henry, C.A. (2012) NAD+ Biosynthesis Ameliorates a Zebrafish Model of Muscular Dystrophy. PLoS Biology, 10 (10):e1001409.
  • 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. PMID: 20566368
  • 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. PMID: 20063418
  • Snow, C.J. and Henry, C.A. (2009) Dynamic formation of microenvironments at the myotendinous junction correlates with muscle fiber morhogenesis in zebrafish. Gene Expression Patterns, 9:37-42. PMID: 18783736
  • 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. PMID: 18833302
  • Snow, C.J., Peterson, M.T., Khalil, A., and Henry, C.A. (2008) Muscle development is disrupted in zebrafish embryos deficient for Fibronectin. Developmental Dynamics, 237 (9): 2542-53. PMID: 18729220
  • 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. PMID: 17570355
  • 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. PMID: 16225858
  • 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., and Amacher, S.L. (2004) Zebrafish slow muscle migration induces a wave of fast muscle morphogenesis. Developmental Cell 7(6):917-923. PMID: 15572133.

Dissertation Students

Ahmed Almaghasilah

Mary Astumian

Amanda Ignacz

Kodey Silknitter