Elizabeth (Beth) Duncan

emdu236's picture
  • Assistant Professor
  • Biology
  • Cell and Developmental Biology
  • Genetics and Genomics
202 TH Morgan
(859) 562-2028
  • Other Affiliations:
Research Interests:

Damon Runyon Postdoctoral Fellow, Stowers Institute for Medical Research, 2010-2018

PhD (Biochemistry & Chromatin Biology), The Rockefeller University, 2003-2009

BA (English Literature), Dartmouth College, 1996-2000


Many organisms in the animal kingdom possess some capactity to regenerate, although often such regeneration is limited to a specific organ (e.g. the liver) and/or developmental stage (e.g. tadpole). However, many planarian flatworm species have the extraordinary regenerative ability to reconstruct an entirely new animal from just a small piece of excised tissue. Such worms are also classified as "negligibly senescent" -- in other words, immortal. 

I am interested in understanding the cellular and molecular basis of these remarkable biological phenomena. One cell population that is essential for both regeneration and immortality is the neoblast population; it contains pluripotent stem cells that not only differentiate into all cell types of the worm, but also do so in the context of an adult organism. Yet, despite maintaining a large population of replicating stem cells, planarians are excellent at regulating their body size and proporation and we see very little evidence of tumorigenesis. Moreover, as in embryogenesis, the regulation of pluripotency and differentiation in planarians must occur using a single genome.

In my lab, we will aim to understand how genome accessibility is regulated during regeneration and how such regulation translates into functional effects on specific cell types.

PubMed Publications*: 
  • Verma, P ;Waterbury, CKM ;Duncan, EM "Set1 Targets Genes with Essential Identity and Tumor-Suppressing Functions in Planarian Stem Cells." Genes 12, 8 (2021): Details. Full text
  • Dean, MRP ;Duncan, EM "Laboratory Maintenance and Propagation of Freshwater Planarians." Current protocols in microbiology 59, 1 (2020): e120. Details. Full text
  • Duncan, EM ;Alvarado, Sánchez "Regulation of Genomic Output and (Pluri)potency in Regeneration." Annual review of genetics 53, (2019): 327-346. Details. Full text
  • Duncan, EM ;Ross, EJ ;Gorbovytska, V ;Nowotarski, SH ;Elliott, SA ;Alvarado, Sánchez ;Kuhn, CD "Planarians recruit piRNAs for mRNA turnover in adult stem cells." Genes & development 33, 21-22 (2019): 1575-1590. Details. Full text
  • Duncan, EM ;Chitsazan, AD ;Seidel, CW ;Alvarado, AS "Set1 and MLL1/2 Target Distinct Sets of Functionally Different Genomic Loci In Vivo." Cell reports 17, 3 (2016): 930. Details. Full text
  • Duncan, EM ;Chitsazan, AD ;Seidel, CW ;Alvarado, Sánchez "Set1 and MLL1/2 Target Distinct Sets of Functionally Different Genomic Loci In Vivo." Cell reports 13, 12 (2015): 2741-55. Details. Full text
  • Duncan, EM ;Muratore-Schroeder, TL ;Cook, RG ;Garcia, BA ;Shabanowitz, J ;Hunt, DF ;Allis, CD "Cathepsin L proteolytically processes histone H3 during mouse embryonic stem cell differentiation." Cell 135, 2 (2008): 284-94. Details. Full text
  • Sehayek, E ;Hagey, LR ;Fung, YY ;Duncan, EM ;Yu, HJ ;Eggertsen, G ;Björkhem, I ;Hofmann, AF ;Breslow, JL "Two loci on chromosome 9 control bile acid composition: evidence that a strong candidate gene, Cyp8b1, is not the culprit." Journal of lipid research 47, 9 (2006): 2020-7. Details. Full text
  • Bernstein, E ;Duncan, EM ;Masui, O ;Gil, J ;Heard, E ;Allis, CD "Mouse polycomb proteins bind differentially to methylated histone H3 and RNA and are enriched in facultative heterochromatin." Molecular and cellular biology 26, 7 (2006): 2560-9. Details. Full text
  • Hake, SB ;Garcia, BA ;Duncan, EM ;Kauer, M ;Dellaire, G ;Shabanowitz, J ;Bazett-Jones, DP ;Allis, CD ;Hunt, DF "Expression patterns and post-translational modifications associated with mammalian histone H3 variants." The Journal of biological chemistry 281, 1 (2006): 559-68. Details. Full text
  • Sehayek, E ;Yu, HJ ;von Bergmann, K ;Lütjohann, D ;Stoffel, M ;Duncan, EM ;Garcia-Naveda, L ;Salit, J ;Blundell, ML ;Friedman, JM ;Breslow, JL "Phytosterolemia on the island of Kosrae: founder effect for a novel ABCG8 mutation results in high carrier rate and increased plasma plant sterol levels." Journal of lipid research 45, 9 (2004): 1608-13. Details. Full text
  • Maxwell, KN ;Soccio, RE ;Duncan, EM ;Sehayek, E ;Breslow, JL "Novel putative SREBP and LXR target genes identified by microarray analysis in liver of cholesterol-fed mice." Journal of lipid research 44, 11 (2003): 2109-19. Details. Full text
  • Sehayek, E ;Duncan, EM ;Yu, HJ ;Petukhova, L ;Breslow, JL "Loci controlling plasma non-HDL and HDL cholesterol levels in a C57BL /6J x CASA /Rk intercross." Journal of lipid research 44, 9 (2003): 1744-50. Details. Full text
  • Sehayek, E ;Wang, R.;Ono, JG ;Zinchuk, VS ;Duncan, EM ;Shefer, S ;Vance, DE ;Ananthanarayanan, M ;Chait, BT ;Breslow, JL "Localization of the PE methylation pathway and SR-BI to the canalicular membrane: evidence for apical PC biosynthesis that may promote biliary excretion of phospholipid and cholesterol." Journal of lipid research 44, 9 (2003): 1605-13. Details. Full text
  • Rudner, LA ;Lin, JT ;Park, IK ;Cates, JM ;Dyer, DA ;Franz, DM ;French, MA ;Duncan, EM ;White, HD ;Gorham, JD "Necroinflammatory liver disease in BALB/c background, TGF-beta 1-deficient mice requires CD4+ T cells." Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950) 170, 9 (2003): 4785-92. Details. Full text
  • Sehayek, E ;Duncan, EM ;Lütjohann, D ;von Bergmann, K ;Ono, JG ;Batta, AK ;Salen, G ;Breslow, JL "Loci on chromosomes 14 and 2, distinct from ABCG5/ABCG8, regulate plasma plant sterol levels in a C57BL/6J x CASA/Rk intercross." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 99, 25 (2002): 16215-9. Details. Full text
  • Sehayek, E ;Ono, JG ;Duncan, EM ;Batta, AK ;Salen, G ;Shefer, S ;Neguyen, LB ;Yang, K.;Lipkin, M ;Breslow, JL "Hyodeoxycholic acid efficiently suppresses atherosclerosis formation and plasma cholesterol levels in mice." Journal of lipid research 42, 8 (2001): 1250-6. Details. Full text
  • Allen, JM ;Balagtas, M ;Barajas, E ;Macip, Cano ;Zepeda, Alvarez ;Iberkleid, I ;Duncan, EM ;Zayas, RM "RNAi Screen of RING/U-Box Domain Ubiquitin Ligases Identifies Critical Regulators of Tissue Regeneration in Planarians." Frontiers in cell and developmental biology 9, (0): 803419. Details. Full text
* Publications are automatically pulled from pubmed.gov based on a user-specific query. Results may include incorrect citations. See: Tutorial on improving PubMed results.