Dr Julio Aguado Perez

Research Fellow

Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology
+61 7 334 63170


Dr Julio Aguado obtained his BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Navarra, Pamplona (Spain), in 2012. He was, then, awarded a Marie Curie fellowship from the European Union to pursue his PhD under the supervision of Prof Fabrizio d'Adda di Fagagna. Dr Julio Aguado obtanied his PhD degree in March 2018, awarded by the European School of Molecular Medicine (University of Milan) where he investigated the role of non-coding RNAs generated upon induction of DNA damage. He discovered that these RNAs containing telomere sequence are critical for both the assembly and maintenance of the DNA damage response foci at the telomeres and enable the recruitment of DNA damage factors to the damaged telomeres. This discovery published in 2017 in Nature Communications has greatly contributed to explaining how eukaryotic cells respond to life-threatening events such as the generation of DNA double-strand breaks in the genome.

More recently, he has further investigated the role of telomere dysfunction and telomeric non-coding RNAs in Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome (HGPS), a rare premature ageing genetic disease. Cells from HGPS patients express progerin, a truncated form of Lamin A, which perturbs cellular homeostasis leading to nuclear shape alterations, genome instability, heterochromatin loss, telomere dysfunction and premature entry into cellular senescence. Dr Julio Aguado has shown that progerin-induced telomere dysfunction induces the transcription of telomeric non-coding RNAs. He has proven that their functional inhibition by sequence-specific telomeric antisense oligonucleotides prevents full DNA Damage Response (DDR) activation and premature cellular senescence in various HGPS cell systems, including HGPS patient fibroblasts and a transgenic HGPS mouse model. This recent discovery, published in 2019 in Nature Communications, demonstrates an important role for telomeric DDR activation in HGPS progeroid detrimental phenotypes in vitro and in vivo.

In the recent years, Dr Julio Aguado has collaborated with the laboratory of Prof Piero Carninci at the RIKEN Institute in Yokohama (Japan), a pioneer in RNA deep sequencing technology that has permitted the creation of comprehensive maps of mammalian transcription start sites. There he led a project together with Dr Quan Nguyen, now a group leader at the University of Queensland, which resulted in the development of a new technology to enrich for non-coding RNAs combined with next-generation RNA sequencing. This powerful technology, published in Nature Protocols, has now enabled the study and characterization of rare non-coding RNAs and their putative precursors.

Dr Julio Aguado currently works at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (AIBN), where his focus is centered in the study of human ageing and its interplay with DNA damage, neurotoxicity and inflammation. He is currently a CIA on an NHMRC Ideas Grant (2001408), a University of Queensland Early Career Researcher Grant (UQECR2058457) and a holder of a Jérôme Lejeune Postdoctoral Fellowship.


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Milan


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  • Doctor Philosophy

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PhD and MPhil Supervision

Current Supervision

  • Doctor Philosophy — Associate Advisor