Devon Poeta ’10 is a scientist, an entrepreneur and a lifelong equestrian. By day, she works as a senior research associate in the Burwell Lab at Brown University. And by night, she is the sole proprietor of Equilibria Wellness and Performance, where she combines her love of science and her love of horses.

As an undergraduate in Professor John McCoy’s Brain and Behavior class, Poeta developed a fascination with the inner workings of the human brain. “I was amazed to learn how external information was processed and translated into actions, and how the plasticity of the brain allows it to adapt in adverse conditions such as neurodegenerative disorders,” she says.

Through the SURE (Stonehill Undergraduate Research Experience) program, Poeta worked with Professor McCoy in a neuroscience lab at the Brockton VA Hospital, studying the effects of sleep deprivation on working memory and spatial navigation. 

“It was a fantastic hands-on experience that cemented my interest in neuroscience,” she recalls. “I have no doubt that it helped me secure my job at Brown.” 

In the Burwell Lab, Poeta, who also earned a master’s degree in biotechnology from Brown, and her team utilize a cutting-edge technique called DREADDs (Designer Receptors Exclusively Activated by Designer Drugs) to study the medial temporal lobe of the brain and the role that it plays in memory and attention. They hope to one day use the technique as a means to treat chronic pain, memory loss and cognitive impairments. 

Recently, the former Stonehill equestrian decided to apply her science acumen to a new venture. As the owner of Equilibria, Poeta utilizes evidence-based therapies to treat horses, pets and humans. Her signature offering is Pulsed Electro-Magnetic Field therapy, which uses magnetic energy to repair damaged cells and allows the body to better heal itself.

“There was definitely a learning curve in starting a business, and I had to step out of my comfort zone with no guarantee of success,” she says. “It was nerve-wracking at times but definitely worth it because I feel like I have finally found my niche.”