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Rayna M. Harris


I have a PhD in Cell and Molecular Biology with a hint of Neuroscience and Evolution. I am a first generation scientist born into a family of teachers. In my early 20s, I realized that a career as a professor of science would allow me to achieve a lifelong dreamed of exploring the world. As part of my research endeavors, I've studied the biochemistry of tropical microbes in Costa Rica, the neural basis of social behavior in cichlid fish from South Africa, and the neuromolecular substrates of avoidance learning in the rodent hippocampus in a teaching lab on Cape Cod Massacheuttes. I'm also part of a network of teachers from all disciplines and backgrounds who are united by a passion for teaching and using best practices in this digital age of research and education.

You can view my CV here and my resume here.


For publication details visit my Google Scholar page or my ORCID page.

  1. The one with transcriptomics of avoidance. In prep.
  2. The one with fragile X transcriptomics. In prep.
  3. The one with lesson development rules. Article.
  4. The one with reproducible brain transcriptomics. Article.
  5. The one with mating systems and microarrays. Article.
  6. The one with body color and social behavior. PDF.
  7. The one with crab neurons and gene expression. PDF.
  8. The one with brain evolution and development. Article.
  9. The one with aromatase and sex changing cichlids. PDF.
  10. The one with vasopressin and space use theory. Link.
  11. The one with wrasse reproductive tactics. PDF.
  12. The one with tilapia response to pheromones. Link.
  13. The one with opsin gene evolution. Link.
  14. The one with the five cichlid genomes. Link.
  15. The one with swordtails, hormones, and body size. PDF.
  16. The one with stressed-out guppies. PDF.
  17. The one with social behavior and genomics. Link.
  18. The one with pro-opiomelanocortin gene evolution. PDF.
  19. The one with monogamy and steroid hormones. PDF.
  20. The one with monogamy and peptides. PDF.


I really enjoy teaching and mentoring. Some teaching highlights including teaching undergraduate organic chemistry laboratory skills, teaching Software Carpentry Instructor Training, and teaching molecular neuroscience during the summer at the Marine Biological Laboratories (MBL) in Woods Hole Massachussets.

Some of my teaching materials are published and freely available under a Creative Commons license.


I enjoy bringing people together to talk about science, especially when I see that these interactions foster new relationships and projects. The Software Carpentry (SWC) and Data Carpentry organizations bring together people from all over the world, from all different disciplines, to talk about challenges and opportunities for today's researchers. It's an honor to be on the SWC Steering Committee, where I have the chance to learn about community needs and implement new programs to meet those needs. Working with the The Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics, I have many opportunities to organize networking events, yearly symposia, and training opportunities for researchers using computational approaches to solve biological problems.


I have written a handful of guest blog posts for PLOS Neuroscience, BEACON, and Software Carpentry on topics related to academic research, education, and mentoring. All of these blogs can be found here on Medium.

Rayna M Harris

Hablando en español

Para aprender español, tomé algunos cursos en la escuela y un curso intensivo en el Ecuador. En 2008 fui a Costa Rica hacer la investigación científica en el Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad. Allí, trabajé en el campo y el laboratorio. Todos los meses, fui con dos compañeros de trabajo en el Caribe o del Pacífico para bucear y recoger muestras de sedimento. Luego regresamos al laboratorio para crecer y examinar la micro-hongos que viven en el sedimento. Aprendí mucho y tenía una experiencia increíble. Al año siguiente, cuando volví a Austin, enseñé clases de español a los niños en la escuela primaria. De vez en cuando, traduzco documentos del Inglés al español o viceversa y chat en español con amigos a través de cervezas o copas de vino.

Contact Information

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