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. Boiani M, Duncan FE,   A reproductive science perspective: deliberations on the stem cell guidelines update.  Mol Hum Reprod  2022 Apr 01;28(4). pii:gaac008
  2. Babayev E, Duncan FE  Age-associated changes in cumulus cells and follicular fluid: the local oocyte microenvironment as a determinant of gamete quality.  Biol Reprod  2022 02 22;106(2):351-365. doi:10.1093/biolre/ioab241
  3. Doherty CA, Amargant F, Shvartsman SY, Duncan FE, Gavis ER  Bidirectional communication in oogenesis: a dynamic conversation in mice and Drosophila.  Trends Cell Biol  2022 04;32(4):311-323. pii:S0962-8924(21)00231-2
  4. Duncan FE  Ex vivo recovery of mature eggs from unstimulated ovaries in pediatric fertility preservation: proceed with caution.  F S Rep  2021 Sep;2(3):267-268. doi:10.1016/j.xfre.2021.05.003

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Francesca E. Duncan, PhD

Francesca E. Duncan, PhD

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