Dr. John Zettel

A photograph of Zettel.
Assistant Professor
Phone number: 
ext. 53638 (Office), ext. 58359 (Lab)
ANNU 274

My interest in the biomechanics and motor control of human movement began in my undergraduate degree in kinesiology at the University of Waterloo. The opportunity to work as a research assistant in my fourth year with Drs. Aftab Patla and Jim Frank fully propeled this interest into the realm of academic and research. I continued on to graduate work with Dr. Brian Maki at the University of Toronto, where i examined the control of postural reactions triggered by a sudden perturbation to balance. My theses considered the role of attention and visual contributions to the control of balance, and my interest in this area led to my postdoctoral fellowship in visuomotor control with Dr. J. Douglas Crawford at York University, in collaboration with Drs. Jody Culham, Tutis Vilis, Bill McIlroy, and Sandra Black.

B.Sc. - Kinesiology, University of Waterloo
M.Sc, Ph.D. - University of Toronto

My current research blends my research backgrounds in biomechanics and visuomotor control to examine how postural control is integrated and coordinated with voluntary movement (e.g. reaching, stepping, whole-body reaching). I am interested in developing an understanding of balance and movement both from a fundamental level, and in application to the immense problem of impaired mobility and falls in older adults and other clinical populations (e.g. stroke).

  • Scovil CY, Zettel JL, Maki BE (2008) Stepping to recover balance in complex environments: Is online visual control necessary or sufficient? Neuroscience Letters (in press)
  • Zettel JL, McIlroy WE, Maki BE. (2008) Effect of competing attentional demands on perturbation-evoked stepping and associated gaze behavior in young and older adults.  Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences (in press) 
  • Zettel JL, McIlroy WE, Maki BE. (2008) Gaze behavior of older adults during rapid balance-recovery reactions.  Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences (in press)
  • Zettel JL, McIlroy WE, Maki BE. (2007) Gaze behavior governing balance recovery in an unfamiliar and complex environment.  Neuroscience Letters 422(3): 207-212 
  • Zettel JL, Holbeche A, McIlroy WE, Maki BE. (2005) Redirection of gaze and switching of attention during rapid stepping reactions evoked by unpredictable perturbation.  Experimental Brain Research 165(3): 392-401
  • Zettel JL, McIlroy WE, Maki BE. (2002) Environmental constraints on foot trajectory reveal the capacity for modulation of anticipatory postural adjustments during rapid triggered stepping reactions. Experimental Brain Research 146(1): 38-47
  • SCMA*2080 Guelph-Humber: Math/Biophysics
  • SCMA*3100 Guelph-Humber: Biomechanics
Name Role
B. McMorran MSc Student
J. Triglav MSc Student, co-advisor