Wesleyan portrait of Stephen Henri Devoto

Stephen Henri Devoto

Professor of Biology, Emeritus

Shanklin Laboratory, 306


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BA Haverford College
PHD Rockefeller University

Stephen Henri Devoto

Devoto works on the basic biology of muscle stem cells and the development of the spine. His work is relevant to congenital spine defects, to muscle repair following injury, and to environmental effects on embryonic patterning.  He uses the zebrafish as a model organism. He and his labmates identified the embryonic origin of the muscle stem cells that underlie all muscle growth during post-embryonic life and muscle repair following injury. They are testing the role of a gene regulatory network involving TBX6, RIPPLY1, and MESP-B in the development of these embryonic muscle stem cells. Mutations in these genes are found in patients with congenital spine defects, and the Devoto lab is characterizing spine development in wild type and mutant zebrafish exposed to environmental stress, to understand the relationship of genes, environment, and abnormal patterning.

Devoto moved to Northern California a few months after being born in Cambridge Massachusetts to a Dutch mother and a Californian father. His early education was in California, Bavaria, and Georgia. He always wanted to understand how complicated devices work, and aimed for medical school to gain an understanding of the complex human organism.  At Haverford College, he learned how wonderful and complicated cells are, and that understanding them was not the province of medicine. He earned his PhD at The Rockefeller University, working on the development of the brain. He then trained at Duke University, working on the molecular biochemistry of a protein involved in cancer. He did further training at the University of Oregon, where he began working on muscle development. Devoto came to Wesleyan in 1997. He lives on a 5 acre hobby farm in Middletown, raising turkeys, chickens and pigs for meat, and bicycling to work. Devoto is very active in municipal politics and government, he was elected to the Middletown Planning and Zoning Commission in 2013, and has been its Chair since 2016.

Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

Spring, 2021: Tuesdays, 2-4.  Please email to schedule other times. 

During the pandemic, I am also available on my mobile: 860.754.4752. Feel free to phone at any time, if I am not sleeping, teaching, or in a meeting, I will pick up. The best time to reach me is between 7:30 and 10AM, essentially every day of the week.