Promoting Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics to Tomorrow's Leaders.

Our Founder

Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr.

Dr. Harris is currently CEO & Managing Partner of Vesalius Ventures, Inc., a venture capital firm, that invest in early to mid-stage Healthcare technologies and companies. He is responsible for managing a portfolio of private assets of early and mid-stage venture investments and operating companies.

He served as CEO and Executive Director, National Math & Science Initiative and led the organization's efforts to improve teacher effectiveness and student achievement in communities across the country. He has been involved in math and science education for over 25 years through his philanthropy as founder of the Harris Institute & Foundation.

Dr. Harris was at NASA for ten years, where he conducted research in musculoskeletal physiology and clinical investigations of space adaptation and developed in-flight medical devices to extend Astronaut stays in space. A veteran astronaut for over thirty years, he has logged more than 438 hours and traveled over 7.2 million miles in space.

He is a member of the Board of Directors for Raytheon Technologies (NYSE: RTX), MassMutual, Solventum (NYSE:SOLV) and U.S. Physical Therapy (NYSE: USPH). Dr. Harris served as a Board of Director/Trustee for Salient Midstream & MLP Fund and Salient MF Trust, and Barings Fund & BBDC. In addition, he is on the non-profit Boards of the Texas Medical Center (currently Chair), Astronaut Scholarship Foundation and the Harris Institute & Foundation.

Former NASA Astronaut Dr. Bernard A. Harris, Jr.
Dr. Harris speaking with student

He 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.

Dr. Harris is the recipient of numerous awards, including nine (9) honorary doctorates; (Stony Brook University (SUNY), Morehouse School of Medicine, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Washington & Jefferson College, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, University of Hartford, Indiana Institute of Technology, University of Houston and University of the Sciences), NASA Space Flight Medal, NASA Award of Merit, National Space Grant Distinguished Services Award, James Bryant Conant Award, a fellow of the American College of Physicians, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the recipient of the 2000 Horatio Alger Award.

He is the author of "Dream Walker: A Journey of Achievement and Inspiration."

Harris Foundation group photo
Contact Us

Telephone: +1 713.877.9276
Toll Free: 877.595.6141

Mailing Address

The Harris Institute / Foundation
P.O. Box 130648
Houston, TX 77219, USA