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Francesca Duncan awarded 2019 Society for the Study of Reproduction Virendra B. Mahesh New Investigator Award

Francesca Duncan awarded 2019 Society for the Study of Reproduction Virendra B. Mahesh New Investigator Award

Francesca Duncan, Assistant Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology (Reproductive Science in Medicine) at the Feinberg School of Medicine, has been awarded the 2019 Virendra B. Mahesh New Investigator Award from The Society For The Study Of Reproduction (SSR), the world’s premier organization supporting the study of reproduction through connecting scientists, hosting conferences, and supporting research. 

This prestigious award recognizes an active, regular member of SSR for “outstanding research completed and published within 12 years after receiving the Ph.D.” and offers generous support towards research through the Virendra B. Mahesh New Investigator Fund. Dr. Duncan will also present her research during the annual meeting of the SSR in San Jose, CA, in July 2019.

Dr. Duncan was chosen for her significant achievements and contributions to advancing the science of reproductive biology in research, academic scholarship, professional leadership, mentoring, and service. 

Dr. Duncan graduated from Haverford College with a BS in Biology and Biochemistry and earned her doctorate in Cell and Molecular Biology from the University of Pennsylvania, where she also completed a post-doctoral fellowship before moving to Northwestern University where she worked in Dr. Teresa Woodruff’slaboratory (2009-2014) as a post-doctoral fellow and then an Assistant Research Professor. She then briefly left Northwestern (2014-16) to start an independent research program as an Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas Medical Center before returning to Northwestern in her current position as Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Executive Director of the Center for Reproductive Science.

Her laboratory researches the many aspects of the hypothesis that deterioration of gamete-intrinsic cellular pathways, along with changes in the ovarian microenvironment, contribute to the reproductive age-associated decline in egg quantity and quality. Dr. Duncan’s research has been at the forefront of studying aging and systemic aging; physiologic and iatrogenic reproductive aging; gamete, follicle, and ovarian biology; and reproductive science and medicine. Additionally,

Dr. Duncan has had more than 50 publications during her relatively short career and has received funding at all stages of her career from sources such as the NIH and Northwestern. Dr. Duncan is also passionate about other aspects of academic publishing, and she serves as an ad hocreviewer for more than 25 journals, as well as an editorial board member for 4 journals. 

Dr. Duncan is also committed to training the next generation of reproductive science and medicine leaders.  In her own laboratory, Dr. Duncan has mentored every level of student from high school to graduate to post-doctoral fellows and residents. For more than ten years, she has also been a standing faculty member at the Frontiers in Reproduction course at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole where she has interacted with more than 200 international trainees.  She was also instrumental in developing and now running the Master of Science in Reproductive Science and Medicine programat Northwestern University.  Most recently, she was the recipient of a United States Fulbright Award to teach reproductive science at the University of Murcia in Spain.