Skip to main content

Thomas Stewart

Assistant Professor of Biology
photo of Tom Stewart


Ph.D., The University of Chicago, USA, 2015

B.S. Syracuse University, USA, 2009


Postdoctoral training

Postdoctoral Scholar, The University of Chicago, USA 2017-2021

Postdoctoral Fellow, Yale University, USA, 2015-2017

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Minnesota, USA, 2015-2017


Research interests

I employ evolutionary and developmental approaches to ask: how does morphological novelty evolve, and what are the causes of major evolutionary transitions?

This work focuses on vertebrate appendages—fins and limbs—which are powerful models for testing hypotheses of developmental evolution and the relationship between form and function. By integrating paleontological data with experimental embryological and developmental genetic data, my aim is to discover how new body parts evolve and the biological basis of homology.


Select Publications

Aiello BR, MS Bhamla, J Gau, JGL Morris, K Bomar,  S da Cunha, H Fu, J Laws, H Minoguchi, M Sripathi, K Washington,G Wong, NH Shubin, S Sponberg, TA Stewart. 2023. The origin of blinking in mudskippers and tetrapods is linked to life on land. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 120 (18) e2220404120.

Stewart, TA, JB Lemerg, A Daly, EB Daeschler, NH Shubin. 2022. A new elpistostegalian from Arctic Canada and the diversity of stem tetrapods. Nature. 608: 563–568.

Stewart, TA, JB Lemberg, NK Taft, I Yoo, EB Daeschler, NH Shubin. 2020. Fin ray patterns at the fin to limb transition. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 117(3):1612-1620.

Stewart, TAC Liang, JL Cotney, JP Noonan, JT Sanger, GP Wagner. 2019. Evidence against tetrapod-wide digit identities and for a limited frame shift in bird wings. Nature Communications. 10: 3244