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. Amargant F, Manuel SL, Tu Q, Parkes WS, Rivas F, Zhou LT, Rowley JE, Villanueva CE, Hornick JE, Shekhawat GS, Wei JJ, Pavone ME, Hall AR, Pritchard MT, Duncan FE  Ovarian stiffness increases with age in the mammalian ovary and depends on collagen and hyaluronan matrices.  Aging Cell  2020 Oct 20;:e13259. doi:10.1111/acel.13259
  2. Duncan FE, Schindler K, Schultz RM, Blengini CS, Stein P, Stricker SA, Wessel GM, Williams CJ  Unscrambling the oocyte and the egg: clarifying terminology of the female gamete in mammals.  Mol Hum Reprod  2020 Oct 06;. pii:gaaa066
  3. Hu Q, Duncan FE, Nowakowski AB, Antipova OA, Woodruff TK, O'Halloran TV, Wolfner MF  Zinc Dynamics during Drosophila Oocyte Maturation and Egg Activation.  iScience  2020 Jul 24;23(7):101275. pii:S2589-0042(20)30461-2
  4. Quan N, Mara JN, Grover AR, Pavone ME, Duncan FE  Spatial Analysis of Growing Follicles in the Human Ovary to Inform Tissue Engineering Strategies.  Tissue Eng Part A  2020 07;26(13-14):733-746. doi:10.1089/ten.tea.2020.0051

View full list

Francesca E. Duncan, PhD

Francesca E. Duncan, PhD

Related Links