Jean-Francois Daneault


Nick Romanenko

Whether it was skiing the slopes of Canada and New Zealand as a coach and instructor or whether it has been following the path that led him to researching neurological diseases, Jean-Francois Daneault has always been enthralled with human movement. “We try to better understand the motor behavior of patients—how it is affected by their disease, medication, or other interventions,” says Daneault, an assistant professor in the Department of Rehabilitation and Movement Sciences at the School of Health Professions. “This allows us to infer what is happening in the brain and develop interventions to optimize motor behavior. There is a need to improve the quality of life of those with neurological disorders.” With a grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation, Daneault is working to find a marker in the brain that would identify people at risk for Parkinson’s disease. Understanding how changes in the brain affect involuntary movements is important in preventing the debilitating behaviors. Daneault, who comes from a family of health care professionals, wants to develop a screening test that, like a mammogram, would catch the disease in its early stages so that it can be stopped. — Bev McCarron