Juan Fafián-Labora obtained his bachelor´s degree in Chemistry from the University of Santiago de Compostela in 2012 and his PhD in Health Sciences from the University of A Coruña under the supervision of Prof. María C. Arufe in 2016. His thesis project was based on the study of the influence of aging on the therapeutic properties of mesenchymal stem cells. During this period he completed a predoctoral stay (September-December 2015) in the laboratory of Professor Fons Van de Loo of the Experimental Rheumatology Group in Nijmegen, The Netherlands thanks to a grant from the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO).
After defending his thesis with cum laude recognition and PhD award, he joined the Epigenetics and Cellular Senescence laboratory led by Dr. Ana O’Loghlen at the Blizard Institute, Queen Mary University of London, London (UK) in 2017 as a postoctoral researcher. His research focused on the search for the molecular mechanism involved in intercellular communication between senescent cells, showing for the first time that extracellular vesicles are part of the secretome-associated senescence phenotype (SASP) and that extracellular vesicles are involved in the rejuvenation process with high therapeutic potential for the treatment of age-associated diseases. During this period his contract was funded by a postdoctoral grant from Xunta de Galicia.
In mid 2019, he returned to the University of A Coruña to develop his research career between the Interdisciplinary Research Center of Chemistry and Biology (CICA) and the Institute for Biomedical Research of A Coruña (INIBIC), where he started to establish his independent research line based on his knowledge on extracellular vesicles and cellular senescence for the development of sinopharmaceuticals (senolytics and senomorphics) for the treatment of age-associated diseases and the rare disease progeria, thanks to a senior postdoctoral contract from Xunta de Galicia. In 2022, he obtained one of the Ramón y Cajal 2021 Contracts to continue his research career at the Interdisciplinary Center of Chemistry and Biology (CICA) of the University of A Coruña.
Throughout his research career he has published 20 scientific articles (2 of which have an impact index higher than 20 in the field of cell biology) and two book chapters. In addition, his work has been recognized in high impact journals and scientific societies for its originality (Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol, SEBBM and UKEV)
The research project is focused on discovering new cellular and molecular mechanisms based on intercellular communication in aging.
The increase in life expectancy of the population has brought with it an increase in pathologies associated with aging such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and neurovegetative diseases, among others.
During aging there is an accumulation of senescent cells in all tissues, which causes problems in tissue regeneration and therefore affects the normal functioning of the healthy organ.
These senescent cells release cytokines, chemokines, lipid mediators and extracellular vesicles, which constitute the secretome-associated senescence phenotype (SASP), which induces senescence in a paracrine and autocrine manner.
Extracellular vesicles constitute a part of SASP that regulate cellular senescence and rejuvenation.
This project aims to discover the metabolic pathways involved in intercellular communication through extracellular vesicles in senescence in order to develop new therapies and reposition drugs. In short, to improve the quality of life of the elderly population and reduce the morbidity of diseases associated with aging.