Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Duncan Lab

About Our Lab

The female reproductive system is the first to age in the human body and will affect every single woman. Reproductive aging is characterized by a noticeable decline in egg quantity and quality beginning in women when they reach their mid-thirties and continuing until menopause. Female reproductive aging has significant health consequences as it results in endocrine function loss and is a leading cause of infertility, miscarriages, and birth defects. Reproductive aging has a large societal impact as women globally are delaying childbearing and many women of advanced reproductive age rely on Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) to conceive.

The Duncan Lab uses mammalian model systems (mouse, bovine, and human) to investigate the overarching hypothesis that deterioration of oocyte-intrinsic cellular pathways together with alterations in the ovarian environment underlie the age-associated decline in female gamete quantity and quality. Our research will improve the fertile-span and health-span across generations through discovery of novel cellular pathways for therapeutic interventions.

Publications

  1. Machlin JH, Barishansky SJ, Kelsh J, Larmore MJ, Johnson BW, Pritchard MT, Pavone ME, Duncan FE  Fibroinflammatory Signatures Increase with Age in the Human Ovary and Follicular Fluid.  Int J Mol Sci  2021 May 05;22(9). pii:4902
  2. Marvaldi C, Martin D, Conte JG, Gottardo MF, Pidre ML, Imsen M, Irizarri M, Manuel SL, Duncan FE, Romanowski V  et al.  Mitochondrial humanin peptide acts as a cytoprotective factor in granulosa cell survival.  Reproduction  2021 Apr 20;161(5):581-591. doi:10.1530/REP-20-0197
  3. Kristensen SG, Duncan FE  Autonomous follicle growth and the production of mature human eggs in vitro: with or without the ovary?  Hum Reprod  2021 04 20;36(5):1163-1165. doi:10.1093/humrep/deab052
  4. Lee HC, Balough JL, Roth EW, Vaccari S, Duncan FE  A decellularized oocyte-derived scaffold provides a "sperm safe" to preserve mammalian spermatozoa.  Andrology  2021 05;9(3):922-932. doi:10.1111/andr.12986

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Francesca E. Duncan, PhD

Francesca E. Duncan, PhD

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