Veronique Belzil, Ph.D.

Photo of Veronique Belzil, Ph.D.
  • Research Fellow, Neuroscience
  • Laboratory of Leonard Petrucelli, Ph.D., at Mayo Clinic, Jacksonville, Florida
  • Hometown: Montreal, Canada
  • Graduate School: University of Montreal

What sparked your interest in science?

Biological sciences have always been captivating to me. Learning about how the human body functions is a continuous learning process that has constantly nourished my curiosity to ask new questions and understand it even better.

Science is truly inspirational for me. It allows me to constantly acquire novel abilities and enrich both my personal and scientific development by learning new things every day and contributing to improving patients' health through my medical research.

How would you describe your area of expertise?

I first developed my expertise in neuroscience by specifically studying how the brain works in neuropsychology. I then spent several years learning about the contribution of molecular genetics to neurodegenerative diseases, especially to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia.

I am currently developing knowledge about epigenetic contributions to the same diseases, while developing novel abilities in molecular biology.

How will your research improve patient care or impact public health?

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia are two devastating diseases that mostly affect middle-aged adults. No treatment to prevent, slow down or stop neurodegeneration exists.

Our work intends to better understand the pathological mechanisms resulting from genetic defects in these diseases in order to develop biomarkers as well as therapeutic approaches.

Why did you choose Mayo Clinic to explore research?

I chose Mayo Clinic to explore science first because of the quality of research in neuroscience conducted by this institution, and second because of the opportunity to interact with investigators who are leaders in the field — two aspects that are essential for my scientific and career development.

What do you like about living in Florida?

Being from Canada, I love Florida for its sunny, warm weather and readily accessible sandy beaches. I appreciate the quality of life the most in Florida. It is a wonderful place to raise a family.

Florida is also a state easily accessible for my friends and family members living in Canada and a great place for them to take vacation. I truly enjoy the suburban kind of life that working at Mayo allows. I can live very close to work at an affordable price. The work setting is amazing!