Andrew Harris

Andrew Harris

Dr. William Murphy Laboratory
Entrance year: 2019
Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

“My research has two major aims: 1) the development of a novel genome browser for phylogenomic data, and 2) the application of this tool to evaluate variation in phylogenetic signal within clades of the cat family using new gapless genome assemblies. TreeHouseExplorer is a genome browser that brings together phylogenetic and genomic data features into a single user interface, allowing for easier interpretation of phylogenetic signal variation in the context of a multitude of genomic features, including recombination rate, chromosomal location, and selection. By utilizing this new application, we will be able to further understand the evolution of living and extinct members of the cat family and the complex interspecific relationships that previous studies have already shown to exist.”

Research Specialties

Bioinformatics and Genomics

Why did you choose the Genetics PhD program at A&M?

I chose to join the Genetics PhD program because of the interdisciplinary nature of the program. I was not entirely sure what I wanted to study coming in, so I felt this would offer me the widest array of options to choose from.

When and how did you realize that you wanted to study Genetics?

I have always been interested in the topic of Genetics, but it wasn’t until I interned at the Center for Animal Research and Education that I developed an interest in genetic research. During my internship, I learned about the different studies that have been conducted on big cats and I found myself fascinated by the topic. By combining my passion for animals with this new-found interest in genetic research, I ultimately decided to pursue a PhD in Genetics.

Fun Facts:

What is your favorite thing about life in College Station?

The people and sense of community around campus. Coming from another big football school that focuses on building a strong sense of community on campus, I’ve felt right at home during my two years here.

Do you have any hidden talents? If so, what are they?

I don’t pursue this talent as much anymore, but I used to make EDM music as a pastime. The songs I made were usually pretty rough around the edges, but it was always just to collaborate with friends and have fun with random ideas.

Do you have any pets? If so, please tell us about them.

Currently, I have a cat named Luna and two ball pythons. Luna is an incredibly sweet yet sassy tortoiseshell cat that I adopted when I was interning down here in Texas. My two ball pythons are rescues and they display a remarkable range of color and pattern morphologies when compared to a wild-type ball python. My female in particular is a bit of a special case as she is a bumblebee ball python. This means she carries the spider pattern variant that is tied to a neurological wobble. Although she is a bit wobbly and unpredictable in her movements, she remains puppy dog tame and sweet as can be.