Meet the Duncan Lab team members. We welcome requests for information about our work and collaboration opportunities.
Francesca E. Duncan, PhD
Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Reproductive Science in Medicine)
Dr. Duncan earned her doctorate in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed two post-doctoral fellowships in reproductive science - one in the Department of Biology at the University of Pennsylvania and one in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University. Her first independent faculty appointment was as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at the University of Kansas Medical Center. She joined Northwestern University as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology in October 2017. Dr. Duncan is an active member of the Center for Reproductive Science, Master of Science in Reproductive Science and Medicine program, and the Oncofertility Consortium.
View Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine faculty profile
Farners Amargant, PhD
Dr. Amargant has earned a Masters in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Biomedicine from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid and her industrial doctorate in Biomedicine from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra. Her PhD research focused on the characterization of the human sperm centrosome and its role in (in)fertility that she carried out at the Center for Genomic Regulation (Dr. Isabelle Vernos) and at Clinica Eugin (fertility clinic – Dr. Rita Vassena). Farners joined the Duncan Lab in 2018 as a post-doctoral scholar. In the Duncan lab her research focuses on understanding several mechanisms underlying reproductive aging, specifically in the stroma and in the oocyte.
Luhan Tracy Zhou, MS
Tracy completed her B.A. in Psychology at the University of Rochester. She joined the Duncan Laboratory in 2017 as a graduate student in the Masters of Reproductive Science and Medicine (MS-RSM) program at Northwestern University. Her thesis research focused on the role of O-GlcNAcylation in oocytes from multiple species, including mouse, bovine, and human (Published: 21 February 2019, https://doi.org/10.1002/mrd.23131). During her time in the MS-RSM program she received the Constance Campbell Memorial Research Award for her poster presented at the 2017 Reproductive Science and Medicine Summit. Additionally, she is a recipient of the Constance Campbell Trainee Travel Award for spring 2018. Finally, she is the first ever student to receive the Makowski Award for Most Outstanding MS-RSM Student. In addition to serving as the lab manager, she is actively involved and participates with the Center for Reproductive Science at Northwestern University, Masters of Science in Reproductive Science and Medicine program at Northwestern University, Society for the Study of Reproduction, Women's Health Research Institute, Oncofertility Consortium, and the Chicago Women in STEM Initiative.
Jamie Mara, BS
MS-RSM Student, class of 2020
Jamie graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. in Dietetics and a minor in Psychology. She is currently a graduate student in the Masters of Reproductive Science and Medicine program at Northwestern. Jamie is investigating how the age-associated increase in ovarian fibrosis affects the process of ovulation.
Jennifer Rowley, BA
MS-RSM Student, class of 2019
Jenny graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with a degree in Global Health and Environment. She was awarded a Princeton Research Fellowship to conduct public health research focused on maternal and reproductive health in Southeast Asia and continued this work as a study coordinator at the University of Chicago. Jenny joined the Duncan Lab in 2018 as a graduate student in the Masters of Reproductive Science and Medicine program at Northwestern. For her master's thesis, Jenny is investigating the effects of low molecular weight hyaluronan on the ovarian stroma as well as follicle growth and development.
Northwestern University, class of 2023
Rebecca Ayiku is a freshman at Northwestern University studying psychology and is on the pre-med track. She is a recipient of the 2019 Summer Undergraduate Research Grants (URGs) at Northwestern. This award allows Rebecca to perform research in the Duncan Lab on her project "Determining the Role of Eosinophils in Female Reproductive Aging."
Naty Pascuali, PhD
Dr. Natalia Marisa Pascuali received her PhD in Biological Chemistry from Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina. During her PhD research, she investigated the potential use of sphingolipids in iatrogenic ovarian pathologies, such as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) and premature ovarian failure (POF) caused by anti-tumoral treatments. Dr. Pascuali is awarded with an Oster Fellowship from the Bunge & Born Foundation to continue her research on chemotherapy-induced POF here in the Duncan Lab. Her focus will be on the inflammatory and stromal components of this process leading to a decline in fertility.
Former Duncan Lab Members
Austin Armstrong (2016) – Medical Student (University of Kansas Medical Center)
Shawn Briley (2015-2016) – Research Technologist (University of Kansas Medical Center)
Susmita Jasti, PhD (2014-2016) – Senior Scientist (University of Kansas Medical Center)
John Kelsh (2014-2016) – Undergraduate Student (University of Kansas Medical Center)
Shula Horton (2017) – High School Summer Student (Northwestern University)
Natalie Quan (2016-2017) – MS Biotechnology Student (Northwestern University)
Allison Grover (2016-2018) – MS Reproductive Science and Medicine (Northwestern University)
Atsuko Kusuhara (2016-2018) – MS Reproductive Science and Medicine (Northwestern University)
Gillian Rubenstein (2018) – Histochemical Society Capstone Fellow and Marcia Storch Undergraduate Research Scholar (Northwestern University)
Shweta Dipali (2018) - Fall Rotation Graduate Student in the Driskill Graduate Program in Life Sciences (Northwestern University)
Ronni Manuel (2017-2019) – MS Reproductive Science and Medicine (Northwestern University)
Jordan Machlin (2017-2019) – MS Reproductive Science and Medicine (Northwestern University)
Leah Simon (2017-2019) – MS Reproductive Science and Medicine (Northwestern University)