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. Brieño-Enriquez MA, Duncan FE, Ghazi A, Klutstein M, Sebastiano V, Tyler J  Editorial: Germ cell development and reproductive aging.  Front Cell Dev Biol  2022;10:1051539. pii:1051539
  2. O'Neill KE, Maher JY, Laronda MM, Duncan FE, LeDuc RD, Lujan ME, Oktay KH, Pouch AM, Segars JH, Tsui EL  et al.  Anatomic nomenclature and 3-dimensional regional model of the human ovary: call for a new paradigm.  Am J Obstet Gynecol  2022 Sep 30;. pii:S0002-9378(22)00795-5
  3. Converse A, Zaniker EJ, Amargant F, Duncan FE  Recapitulating folliculogenesis and oogenesis outside the body: encapsulated in vitro follicle growth.  Biol Reprod  2022 Sep 22;. pii:ioac176
  4. Babayev E, Xu M, Shea LD, Woodruff TK, Duncan FE  Follicle isolation methods reveal plasticity of granulosa cell steroidogenic capacity during mouse in vitro follicle growth.  Mol Hum Reprod  2022 Sep 29;28(10). pii:gaac033

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Francesca E. Duncan, PhD

Francesca E. Duncan, PhD

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