Rene E. Harrison

Rene E. Harrison
Telephone number
Building SW 541-A


B.Sc., M.Sc, Ph.D.

Teaching Interests

  • BIOB10 - Cell Biology
  • BIOD23 - Special Topics in Cell Biology and Molecular Genetics
  • CSB1018 - Graduate course in Advanced Microscopy & Imaging

Research Interests

Our lab is studying the microtubule cytoskeleton. We are interested in microtubule dynamics and microtubule regulating proteins in the immune cell, macrophages and the bone cell, osteoclasts.  Macrophages are the key cell responsible for degradation of pathogens by a process known as phagocytosis.  Osteoclasts are equally destructive cells, charged with degrading the dense calcified bone matrix.  We are interested in how the microtubule cytoskeleton contributes to the function of these cell types, and particularly how the microtubule cytoskeleton is modulated during invasion of pathogens and in bone-wasting disorders.  We are also investigating how the cytoskeleton of bone cells is affected in microgravity environments.



  • microtubules
  • macrophages
  • osteoblasts
  • vesicle trafficking
  • infection

Research Area: Cell & Molecular Biology

Current Research

Our lab is currently studying the cell biology of three different cell types: macrophages, osteoblasts and osteoclasts. Macrophages are a key immune cell responsible for degradation of pathogens by a process known as phagocytosis. Osteoclasts are equally destructive cells, charged with degrading the dense, calcified bone matrix. Osteoblasts are the other major bone cell that secrete copious amounts of collagen to form the bone matrix. We are using advanced fluorescent microscopy as well as molecular biology and biochemistry to study the major functions of these cells. Specifically we study how the microtubule cytoskeleton effects their functions and is deregulation in diseased states or during infection.


Philip, R., Fiorino, C., & Harrison, R. E. (2022). Terminally differentiated osteoclasts organize centrosomes into large clusters for microtubule nucleation and bone resorption. Molecular Biology of the Cell, 33(8), ar68.

Fu, Y., Macwan, V., Heineman, R. E. S., Terebiznik, M. R., & Harrison, R. E. (2022). Legionella pneumophila Infection of Human Macrophages Retains Golgi Structure but Reduces O-Glycans. Pathogens, 11(8).

Fournier, R., & Harrison, R. E. (2021). Methods for studying MLO-Y4 osteocytes in collagen-hydroxyapatite scaffolds in the rotary cell culture system. Connective Tissue Research, 62(4), 436–453.

Fournier, R., & Harrison, R. E. (2020). Strategies for studying bone loss in microgravity. In REACH (Vols. 17–20). Elsevier GmbH.

Poirier, M. B., Fiorino, C., Rajasekar, T. K., & Harrison, R. E. (2020). F-actin flashes on phagosomes mechanically deform contents for efficient digestion in macrophages. Journal of Cell Science,133(12).

Acharya, D., Li, X. R., Heineman, R. E. S., & Harrison, R. E. (2020). Complement Receptor-Mediated Phagocytosis Induces Proinflammatory Cytokine Production in Murine Macrophages. Frontiers in Immunology, 10.

Sin, A. T.-W., & Harrison, R. E. (2016). Growth of the Mammalian Golgi Apparatus during Interphase. Molecular and Cellular Biology, 36(18), 2344–2359.

Weidner JM, Kanatani S, Uchtenhagen H, Varas-Godoy M, Schulte T, Engelberg K, Gubbels MJ, Sun HS, Harrison RE, Achour A, Barragan A. Migratory activation of parasitized dendritic cells by the protozoan Toxoplasma gondii 14-3-3 protein. Cell Microbiol. 2016 Mar 28. doi: 10.1111/cmi.12595. [Epub ahead of print]

Fiorino C, Harrison RE. E-cadherin is important for cell differentiation during osteoclastogenesis. Bone. 2016 May;86:106-18. doi: 10.1016

Sun HS, Sin AT, Poirier MB, Harrison RE. Chlamydia trachomatis Inclusion Disrupts Host Cell Cytokinesis to Enhance Its Growth in Multinuclear Cells. J Cell Biochem. 2016 Jan;117(1):132-43. doi: 10.1002/jcb.25258.

Xu K, Harrison RE. Down-regulation of Stathmin Is Required for the Phenotypic Changes and Classical Activation of Macrophages. J Biol Chem. 2015 Jul 31;290(31):19245-60. doi: 10.1074

Jeganathan S, Fiorino C, Naik U, Sun HS, Harrison RE. Modulation of osteoclastogenesis with macrophage M1- and M2-inducing stimuli. PLoS One. 2014 Aug 7;9(8):e104498. doi: 10.1371

Pustylnik S, Fiorino C, Nabavi N, Zappitelli T, da Silva R, Aubin JE, Harrison RE. EB1 levels are elevated in ascorbic Acid (AA)-stimulated osteoblasts and mediate cell-cell adhesion-induced osteoblast differentiation. J Biol Chem. 2013 Jul 26;288(30):22096-110. doi: 10.1074

Nabavi N, Pustylnik S, Harrison RE. Rab GTPase mediated procollagen trafficking in ascorbic acid stimulated osteoblasts. PLoS One2012;7(9):e46265. doi: 10.1371

Durand M, Komarova SV, Bhargava A, Trebec-Reynolds DP, Li K, Fiorino C, Maria O, Nabavi N, Manolson MF, Harrison RE, Dixon SJ, Sims SM, Mizianty MJ, Kurgan L, Haroun S, Boire G, de Fatima Lucena-Fernandes M, de Brum-Fernandes AJ. Monocytes from patients with osteoarthritis display increased osteoclastogenesis and bone resorption: the In Vitro Osteoclast Differentiation in Arthritis study. Arthritis Rheum. 2013 Jan;65(1):148-58. doi: 10.1002

Sun HS, Eng EW, Jeganathan S, Sin AT, Patel PC, Gracey E, Inman RD, Terebiznik MR, Harrison RE. Chlamydia trachomatis vacuole maturation in infected macrophages.  J Leukoc Biol. 2012 Oct;92(4):815-27. doi: 10.1189

Hanania R, Sun HS, Xu K, Pustylnik S, Jeganathan S, Harrison RE. Classically activated macrophages use stable microtubules for matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9) secretion. J Biol Chem. 2012 Mar 9;287(11):8468-83. doi: 10.1074

Sun HS, Wilde A, Harrison RE. Chlamydia trachomatis inclusions induce asymmetric cleavage furrow formation and ingression failure in host cells.  Mol Cell Biol. 2011 Dec;31(24):5011-22. doi: 10.1128

Nabavi N, Khandani A, Camirand A, Harrison RE. Effects of microgravity on osteoclast bone resorption and osteoblast cytoskeletal organization and adhesion. Bone2011 Nov;49(5):965-74. doi: 10.1016

Silver K, Harrison RE. Measuring immune receptor mobility by fluorescence recovery after photobleaching. Methods Mol Biol. 2011;748:155-67. doi: 10.1007

Silver KE, Harrison RE. Kinesin 5B is necessary for delivery of membrane and receptors during FcγR-mediated phagocytosis. J Immunol. 2011 Jan 15;186(2):816-25. doi: 10.4049

Patel PC, Fisher KH, Yang EC, Deane CM, Harrison RE. Proteomic analysis of microtubule-associated proteins during macrophage activation.  Mol Cell Proteomics. 2009 Nov;8(11):2500-14. doi: 10.1074

Patel PC, Harrison RE. Membrane ruffles capture C3bi-opsonized particles in activated macrophages. Mol Biol Cell. 2008 Nov;19(11):4628-39. doi: 10.1091

Nabavi N, Urukova Y, Cardelli M, Aubin JE, Harrison RE. Lysosome dispersion in osteoblasts accommodates enhanced collagen production during differentiation. J Biol Chem. 2008 Jul 11;283(28):19678-90. doi: 10.1074

Binker MG, Zhao DY, Pang SJ, Harrison RE. Cytoplasmic linker protein-170 enhances spreading and phagocytosis in activated macrophages by stabilizing microtubules.  J Immunol. 2007 Sep 15;179(6):3780-91.

Khandani A, Eng E, Jongstra-Bilen J, Schreiber AD, Douda D, Samavarchi-Tehrani P, Harrison RE. Microtubules regulate PI-3K activity and recruitment to the phagocytic cup during Fcγ receptor-mediated phagocytosis in nonelicited macrophages. J Leukoc Biol. 2007 May 14

Eng EW, Bettio A, Ibrahim J, Harrison RE. MTOC Reorientation Occurs during Fc{gamma}R-mediated Phagocytosis in Macrophages. Mol Biol Cell. 2007 Apr 18

Harrison RE, Bucci C, Vieira OV, Schroer TA, Grinstein S. Phagosomes fuse with late endosomes and/or lysosomes by extension of membrane protrusions along microtubules: role of Rab7 and RILP. Mol Cell Biol. 2003 Sep;23(18):6494-506.