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. 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
  2. Parkes WS, Amargant F, Zhou LT, Villanueva CE, Duncan FE, Pritchard MT  Hyaluronan and Collagen Are Prominent Extracellular Matrix Components in Bovine and Porcine Ovaries.  Genes (Basel)  2021 07 30;12(8). pii:1186
  3. Kusuhara A, Babayev E, Zhou LT, Singh VP, Gerton JL, Duncan FE  Immature Follicular Origins and Disrupted Oocyte Growth Pathways Contribute to Decreased Gamete Quality During Reproductive Juvenescence in Mice.  Front Cell Dev Biol  2021;9:693742. doi:10.3389/fcell.2021.693742
  4. 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

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Francesca E. Duncan, PhD

Francesca E. Duncan, PhD

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