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. Que EL, Duncan FE, Lee HC, Hornick JE, Vogt S, Fissore RA, O'Halloran TV, Woodruff TK  Bovine eggs release zinc in response to parthenogenetic and sperm-induced egg activation.  Theriogenology  2019 Mar 15;127:41-48. pii:S0093-691X(18)30911-7
  2. Singh VP, Yueh WT, Gerton JL, Duncan FE  Oocyte-specific deletion of Hdac8 in mice reveals stage-specific effects on fertility.  Reproduction  2019 Jan 01;. doi:10.1530/REP-18-0560
  3. Smith BM, Duncan FE, Ataman L, Smith K, Quinn GP, Chang RJ, Finlayson C, Orwig K, Valli-Pulaski H, Moravek MB, Zelinski MB, Irene Su H, Vitek W, Smith JF, Jeruss JS, Gracia C, Coutifaris C, Shah D, Nahata L, Gomez-Lobo V, Appiah LC, Brannigan RE, Gillis V, Gradishar W, Javed A, Rhoton-Vlasak AS, Kondapalli LA, Neuber E, Ginsberg JP, Muller CH, Hirshfeld-Cytron J, Kutteh WH, Lindheim SR, Cherven B, Meacham LR, Rao P, Torno L, Sender LS, Vadaparampil ST, Skiles JL, Schafer-Kalkhoff T, Frias OJ, Byrne J, Westphal LM, Schust DJ, Klosky JL, McCracken KA, Ting A, Khan Z, Granberg C, Lockart B, Scoccia B, Laronda MM, Mersereau JE, Marsh C, Pavone ME, Woodruff TK  The National Physicians Cooperative: transforming fertility management in the cancer setting and beyond.  Future Oncol  2018 Nov 26;. doi:10.2217/fon-2018-0278
  4. Duncan FE, Romar R, Gadea J, Kimelman D, Wallach HD, Woodruff TK, Jiménez-Movilla M  The use of a virtual journal club to promote cross-cultural learning in the reproductive sciences.  J Assist Reprod Genet  2018 Dec;35(12):2141-2147. doi:10.1007/s10815-018-1309-z

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Francesca E. Duncan, PhD

Francesca E. Duncan, PhD

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