Five Questions
Jacqueline French

Dr. Jacqueline French, professor of neurology in the Epilepsy Section at the New York University Langone Medical Center, currently serves as the Chief Scientific Officer of the Epilepsy Foundation. She has been instrumental in spearheading initiatives to advance research directly benefitting people impacted by epilepsy.

As a clinician and scientist, Dr. French is in tune with the urgent need to find solutions for people with epilepsy and has been able to forge collaborations worldwide to address this need. She has helped build pathways leading to innovative technology, drug discovery, and improved treatments for epilepsy. Dr. French has set a goal of actively fostering the kind of research that can make a difference to people with epilepsy in a time frame that matters.

1 How did you first get involved with the Epilepsy Foundation?

I have always had a relationship with the Foundation, including being on the Professional Advisory Board from 2000-2008 and doing grant reviews. I got much more involved when the Epilepsy Foundation and the Epilepsy Therapy Project (ETP) merged. I had been the Vice President for Research for ETP since 2011. So after the merger, in 2015, I became Chief Scientific Officer for the Epilepsy Foundation.

Editors note: In 2019, Dr. French became the Foundation's Chief Medical and Innovation Officer.

2 What is your favorite thing about the work you do for the Epilepsy Foundation?

When I work for the Epilepsy Foundation, I feel like the sky is the limit. There are so many creative and passionate people working at the Foundation. We have together implemented a number of innovative, exciting programs, including the Epilepsy Innovation Institute (Ei2), and the Research Roundtable for Epilepsy to name a few. These programs will hopefully change the way we look at and treat epilepsy in the next decade.

3 What might someone be surprised to know about you?

My music playlist is full of 70s rock, but I am also a fan of Imagine Dragons, Ed Sheeran, and Pharrell Williams, to name a few.

4 If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

Definitely I would learn to dance. Dancing makes you feel so free!

5 What is your motto or personal mantra?

You should figure out early in your career what charges your batteries and what drains them. Instead of chasing status or money, pursue the things that charge your batteries, and you will be happy. The Epilepsy Foundation definitely charges my batteries!!


Dr. French has been committed to the Epilepsy Foundation’s mission for over two decades having served in multiple leadership roles within the Epilepsy Foundation and The Epilepsy Therapy Project, in addition to having served as president of the American Epilepsy Society and currently serving as Director of the Epilepsy Study Consortium. Dr. French will take on the role of the Epilepsy Foundation’s Chief Medical and Innovation Officer beginning July 1, 2019. We are grateful for her service, passion, and commitment to the epilepsy community.

Authored By: 
Epilepsy Foundation Health Communications
Authored Date: