Faculty Bio

Kelli Duncan

Assistant Professor of Biology and Director of Neuroscience and Behavior

B.S.A., Biological Science, The University of Georgia 
M.S., Biology, Georgia State University
Ph.D., Biology (Neuroscience and Behavior), Georgia State University
Post-doctoral Fellow, Biological Sciences, Lehigh University

Research Interest
Traumatic Brain Injury and Steroid Hormones

I consider myself to be a behavioral neuroendocrinologist, that’s the short way of saying that I am interested in how the brain interacts with hormones to alter itself and behavior. My lab examines the role of the endocrine system following traumatic brain injury (TBI). There are a number of biological cascades that occur following TBI. One such cascade involves the regulation of steroid hormones and their receptors. Many of these hormones are neuroprotective and  serve to protect the brain and mediate future damage. Traumatic Brain Injury and the Developing Brain

Previous research has shown that contrary to popular opinion, injury to the juvenile brain has longer lasting and more detrimental effects than injury to the adult brain. I plan to examine the role of steroid hormones on neuroprotection and neuronal survival in the developing and adult brain; and to determine whether the juvenile brain’s response to injury is similar to the adult response. My work primarily focuses on using the Australian Zebra finch, a passerine songbird, as my model system.

Teaching interest and Courses I teach Introduction to Biological Investigation (Biol 106), Animal Physiology (Biol 228), and Hormones and Behavior (Biol 383). In these courses, we will work on scientific writing and reading, in addition to achieving a thorough comprehension of primary research articles.

Publications Sieglaff, DH., Duncan, KA., Brown, MR., Expression of genes encoding proteins involved in ecdysteroidogenesis in the female mosquito, Aedes aegypti. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 35, 470-490, 2005.

Duncan, KA and LL Carruth. 2007. Sexually Dimorphic Expression of L7/SPA, an estrogen receptor coactivator, in the developing zebra finch brain. Develop. Neurobiol. 67(14): 1852-1866.

Duncan KA, Jimenez P, Carruth LL. 2009. The selective estrogen alpha receptor coactivator, RPL7, and sexual differentiation of the songbird brain. Psychoneuroendocrinology. 34 Suppl 1:S30-8

Saldanha CJ, Duncan KA, Walters BJ. 2009. Neuroprotective actions of brain aromatase. Front Neuroendocrinol. 30 (2009): 106-118.

Duncan KA, Carruth LL. 2011. The song remains the same: coactivators and sex differences in the songbird brain. Front Neuroendocrinol. 32(1):84-94.

Duncan KA, Jimenez P, Carruth LL. 2011. Distribution and sexually dimorphic expression of steroid receptor coactivator-1 (SRC-1) in the zebra finch brain. Gen Comp Endocrinol. Jan 15;170(2):408-14.

Duncan KA, Saldanha CJ. 2011. Neuroinflammation induces glial aromatase expression in the uninjured songbird brain. J Neuroinflammation. Jul 18;8(1):81.

Duncan KA, Walters BJ, Saldanha CJ. 2013. Traumatized and inflamed - But  resilient: Glial aromatization and the avian brain. Hormones and  Behavior.   Feb;63(2):208-15.  doi: 10.1016/j.yhbeh.2012.02.026. Epub 2012 Mar 5.  Saldanha CJ, Burstein SR, Duncan KA. 2013. Induced synthesis of estrogens  by glia in the songbird brain. J Neuroendocrinol.  Jun 25. doi:  10.1111/jne.12067.  Duncan KA, Vartosis D, Moon J, Zee I. 2013. Injury induced expression  of glial androgen receptor in the zebra finch brain. J Neurotrauma.  Nov  15;30(22):1919-24. doi: 10.1089/neu.2013.2951. Epub 2013 Sep 27.