College of Health and Human Performance

Q&A with new APK Chair David Vaillancourt

This summer, David Vaillancourt, Ph.D., will move into the role of chair for the Department of Applied Physiology & Kinesiology (APK).

Dr. Vaillancourt joined UF and APK in 2011. In addition to the role of professor, Vaillancourt served as director of the Center for Exercise Science and vice-chair for the department. He received the UF Research Foundation Professorship in 2017 in recognition of his distinguished record of research.

His research focuses on how the brain regulates voluntary and involuntary movement with a specific focus on motor disorders. His research program uses advanced neuroimaging techniques to study the functional and structural changes in the brain of humans and animal models that span Parkinson’s disease, tremor, ataxia and dystonia. He has conducted studies investigating interventions including rehabilitative, surgical and pharmacological interventions, and published this work in journals that include Brain, Journal of Neuroscience, Science Translational Medicine, JAMA Neurology, Neurology, Human Brain Mapping, Neuroimage, Cerebral Cortex, and Neurobiology of Aging. He has been continuously funded by NIH since 1999, and now directs several grants from NIH.

What excites you about your new role as chair of the Department of Applied Physiology & Kinesiology?

I am excited to serve the faculty and staff of APK. We have an amazing cadre of faculty that excel in the classroom and laboratory. The faculty care deeply about mentoring and helping students learn. I am thrilled to work with them all.

What goals do you have for your new position?

  1. Sustain our excellence in undergraduate teaching
  2. Increase research funding and mentoring capacity
  3. Improve the graduate program through on and off campus initiatives.

What is something about you that is important for the college community to know?

I believe in excellence and that sustained hard work and discipline pay off. I believe in family and work/life balance — there is nothing more important to me than my wife and daughters.

Do you have any favorite quotes?

“Well done is better than well said.” —Benjamin Franklin
“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.” —Marie Curie

What is the best piece of advice you were ever given?

My dad taught me the importance of hard work and to persevere through tough times. My mom taught me to have a kind heart and give to others. They are the biggest gifts I have had and I draw upon their advice everyday.

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