Ian D. Duncan

Ian Duncan
Professor, Department of Medical Sciences
(608) 263-9828


B.M.V.S., Ph.D. Glasgow University

Lab Website:


Research Focus:

CNS Myelination and Glial Cell Transplantation

Research Strengths:

Development, Plasticity and Repair; Neurobiology of Disease

Research Description:

Myelination of the mammalian CNS is a complex developmental process that requires intricate timing of gene expression and cellular interactions between the axon and its myelinating cell, the oligodendrocyte. A deeper understanding of normal myelination has been provided by the study of the myelin mutants, animals in which these developmental processes have been interrupted, as a result of mutations in myelin genes. We have been studying these mutants using morphological, tissue culture, and molecular approaches. Some of these mutants serve as bona fide models of human disease, and allow us opportunities to study repair as a translational step toward human therapies. In particular, we are exploring the role that transplantation of glial cells might play in repairing focal lesions in multiple sclerosis and more generalized defects in the people with genetic disorders. To accomplish this, we are defining the type of cell that could be transplanted, beginning from embryonic stem cells and their derivatives through tissue-specific progenitors. We are also developing new models to study such repair, and are exploring the mechanisms of compounds or molecules that may help promote repair, lessen inflammation, and protect transplanted cells. Finally, with collaborators, we are developing new imaging techniques to study cell migration of transplanted cells in vivo and the myelin that they make.


Please see PubMed for most recent publications