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. Mara JN, Zhou LT, Larmore M, Johnson B, Ayiku R, Amargant F, Pritchard MT, Duncan FE  Ovulation and ovarian wound healing are impaired with advanced reproductive age.  Aging (Albany NY)  2020 May 14;12. doi:10.18632/aging.103237
  2. Simon LE, Kumar TR, Duncan FE  In vitro ovarian follicle growth: a comprehensive analysis of key protocol variables.  Biol Reprod  2020 May 14;. pii:ioaa073
  3. Lee HC, Edmonds ME, Duncan FE, O'Halloran TV, Woodruff TK  Zinc exocytosis is sensitive to myosin light chain kinase inhibition in mouse and human eggs.  Mol Hum Reprod  2020 Apr 24;26(4):228-239. doi:10.1093/molehr/gaaa017
  4. Rowley JE, Amargant F, Zhou LT, Galligos A, Simon LE, Pritchard MT, Duncan FE  Low Molecular Weight Hyaluronan Induces an Inflammatory Response in Ovarian Stromal Cells and Impairs Gamete Development In Vitro.  Int J Mol Sci  2020 Feb 04;21(3). pii:E1036

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Francesca E. Duncan, PhD

Francesca E. Duncan, PhD

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