Bernard Harris, Jr.

Space Science & Telemedicine

Self Exam

  • Occupation: Physician, Astronaut and Venture Capitalist
  • Alternative career choice: Musician
  • What do rock stars and scienctists have in common: Rhythm and the love of music. Scientists look for order in life and Rock Stars express that order in music.
  • Musical Instrument I Play: None
  • I tend to approach life: Plan for the future but live in the present.
  • Biggest misconceptions about me or my work: Is that I am all work and no play...I like having fun too!
  • Worst part-time job ever: Working maintenance for a hotel.
  • Longest med school study session: Studying pharmacology as a second year medical student.
  • Best moment in medicine/research: Conducting the 1st Telemedicine conference from the space shuttle.

About My Research

Research Area: Telemedicine

Science Impact/Accomplishments or Goal: The Harris Foundation

Research Description: The Harris Foundation Founded in 1998, The Harris Foundation's goal is to empower youth and communities, especially minorities and the economically and/or socially disadvantaged, to develop their potential and pursue their dreams, through our interactive STEM education, health and wealth programs; the next generation ""Rock Stars"".

The Education Mission of the Harris Foundation is to enable youth to develop and achieve their full potential by providing educational opportunities for middle school students, their teachers and parents in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

The Health Mission of the Harris Foundation is to promote healthy living and wellness by developing and implementing strategies and programs for wellness, fitness and health.

The Financial Mission of the Harris Foundation is to enhance the financial intelligence (FIQ) of communities starting with the individuals and their families."


“Dr. Harris is currently Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner of Vesalius Ventures, Inc., a venture capital firm, that invest in early to mid stage Healthcare technologies and companies.

Prior to Vesalius Ventures, Dr. Harris was at NASA for ten years, where he conducted research in musculoskeletal physiology and disuse osteoporosis. Later, as Head of the Exercise Countermeasure Project, he conducted clinical investigations of space adaptation and developed inflight medical devices to extend Astronaut stays in space, which involved the use of telemetry. A veteran astronaut for over eighteen years, he has logged more than 438 hours and traveled over 7.2 million miles in space. On his second flight, Dr. Harris conducted the first telemedicine conference from space with the Mayo Clinic and became the “First African American to walk in Space”.

Dr. Harris served as Vice President and Chief Scientist of SPACEHAB, Inc., an innovative space commercialization company where he directed the company’s space science business. There he was involved in business development and marketing of the company’s space-based products and services. Dr. Harris’ focus was the enhancement of medical devices for use in remote environments. Later, he served as Vice President of Business Development for Space Media, Inc., an Informatics company, establishing an e-commerce initiative

Currently, he is on the Board for the Houston Angel Network, Medical Informatics, Technology and Applications Center, Houston Technology Center, BioHouston, the National Math and Science Initiative and the National Space Biomedical Research Institute, Board of Scientific Counselors. In addition, he was a Senior Consultant for NASA Aerospace Safety Panel, Member of the NASA Biological and Physical Sciences Committee, Council for the NIH National Institute for Deafness and Communications Disorders and committee for the National Academies Institute of Medicine.

He holds several faculty appointments including, Associate Professor in Internal Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch and Assistant Professor at Baylor College of Medicine. Additionally, he is the author and co-author of numerous scientific publications. Dr. Harris is also the founder and president of the Harris Foundation, which supports math and science education and crime prevention programs for America’s youth.

Dr. Harris earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Houston, a Master of Medical Science from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Houston and a Doctorate of Medicine from Texas Tech University School of Medicine. He completed a Residency in Internal Medicine at the Mayo Clinic, a National Research Council Fellowship in Endocrinology at the NASA Ames Research Center and trained as a Flight Surgeon at the Aerospace School of Medicine, Brooks Air Force Base. He is also a licensed private pilot and certified scuba diver.

He is a member of the Board of Directors for RMD Networks, U.S. Physical Therapy (Nasdaq: USPH), Sterling Bancshares (Nasdaq: SBIB), The Endowment Fund, Monebo Technologies and the Space Agency.

He is the recipient of numerous awards, including honorary doctorates from Stony Brook University (SUNY), Morehouse School of Medicine, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and University of Hartford, NASA Space Flight Medal, NASA Award of Merit, a fellow of the American College of Physicians, and was the recipient of the 2000 Horatio Alger Award.”