Frank Duca, PhD

Assistant Professor, Animal & Comparative Biomedical Sciences

Dr. Duca received his undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering and his M.S. degree in Nutritional Sciences from The Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Duca received his PhD from Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie (now Sorbonne Université), working on the role of postingestive gastrointestinal peptides in the control of food intake, and the impact of gut-brain signaling in the development of obesity during high-fat feeding. He was a Banting postdoctoral fellow, under the mentorship of Dr. Tony Lam at Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, examining the role of small intestinal nutrient sensing on regulating glucose homeostasis and the impact of the gut microbiota. Dr. Duca’s laboratory at the University of Arizona is interested in the role of the gut-brain axis in the development of obesity and diabetes. His lab focuses on how different environmental factors, like diet, temperature, and toxic exposures, can impact energy and glucose homeostasis. Additionally, his lab studies how alterations in the gut microbiota can be both a factor and treatment for metabolic diseases via direct host-microbe interactions, as well as through the production of bacterially-derived metabolites that can have an impact both locally in the intestine, as well as peripherally, like at the liver, pancreas, adipose, and brain.

Cancer Focus

The work in Dr. Duca’s lab examines how different diets and environmental exposures can impact the gut microbiota and the gastrointestinal physiology. Due to the recent implications of the gut microbiota in cancer, Dr. Duca collaborates with many faculty in determining the potential impact of specific microbes and related bacterially-derived metabolites in the gastrointestinal tract on cancer development and treatment. Additionally, his lab focuses on short-chain fatty acid signaling, especially butyrate, which is known to play a role in GI cancer and regulation of the immune system.

Research Program Role
Cancer Biology Program

Display Name
Frank Duca, PhD