Aurora Pujol

Aurora Pujol

Institut d'Investigació Biomèdica de Bellvitge

Life & Medical Sciences

Dr Aurora Pujol received her MD from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (1993) and her PhD at the University of Heidelberg/ German Cancer Research Center (1998). She trained in Human Genetics at the IGBMC, Strasbourg, generating and characterizing mouse models for a rare neurometabolic disorder, adrenoleukodystrophy (X-ALD), combined with residency in Medical Genetics. In 2005, she became Director of the Neurometabolic Diseases Lab at IDIBELL/ICREA. She is also board certified in Clinical Genomics by the American Board of Genetics and Genomics at the NIH, USA. Her lab is a member of the Spanish Network of Rare Diseases CIBERER, and the Undiagnosed Diseases  International Network of NIH (UDNI). Dr Pujol serves at prestigious Editorial Boards, patients associations, the European Society of Human Genetics scientific committee, and is an international key opinion leader for brain white matter diseases and genomic medicine.

Research interests

Our mission  is to improve disease management of rare brain disorders through precision medicine. This spans the whole spectrum from genomic diagnosis to disease-modifying treatments. A first research line revolves around adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD),  made popular by the movie “Lorenzo’s Oil”. We are integrating multiomic approaches to gain insights into pathomechanisms  for drug target and biomarker identification. These involve the control of redox, metabolic and mitochondrial homeostasis. Preclinical tests using mouse models for ALD  yielded four licensed patents, four phase II/III clinical trials, and four Orphan Drug Designations. Currently, a phase II-III against placebo clinical trial is funded by the Spanish National Institutes of Health. A second research line applies clinical and functional genomics, including development of computational algorithms, for solving undiagnosed cases of brain rare disorders and expanding scientific knowledge by discovering novel genetic causes of brain malfunction.

Selected publications

– Schlüter A, Rodríguez-Palmero A, Verdura E, et al. 2022, Diagnosis of Genetic White Matter Disorders by Singleton Whole-Exome and Genome Sequencing Using Interactome-Driven Prioritization‘, Neurology, 98(9):e912-e923.

– Troya J, Bastard P, Casanova JL, Abel L & Pujol A 2022, ‘Low Lymphocytes and IFN-Neutralizing Autoantibodies as Biomarkers of COVID-19 Mortality‘, J Clin Immunol, 42(4):738-741.

– Parameswaran J, Goicoechea L, Planas-Serra L, et al. 2022, ‘Activating cannabinoid receptor 2 preserves axonal health through GSK-3β/NRF2 axis in adrenoleukodystrophy‘, Acta Neuropathol, 144(2):241-258.

– Guasto A, Dubail J, Aguilera-Albesa S, Paganini C, Vanhulle C, Aznal-Sainz E, Boddaert N, Planas-Serra L, Schlüter A, Vélez-Santamaría V, Verdura E, Pujol A* & Cormier-Daire V 2022, ‘Biallelic variants in SLC35B2 cause a novel chondrodysplasia with hypomyelinating leukodystrophy‘, Brain, 145(10):3711-3722.

– Verdura, E, Senger B, Raspall-Chaure M, Schluter A, Launay N, Ruiz M, Casasnovas C, Rodriguez-Palmero A, Macaya A, Dominique BH & Pujol A* 2022, ‘Loss of seryl-tRNA synthetase (SARS1) causes complex spastic paraplegia and cellular senescence‘, J Med Genet, 59(12):1227-1233.

– Davalos V, García-Prieto CA, Ferrer G, et al. 2022, ‘Epigenetic profiling linked to multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C): A multicenter, retrospective study‘, EClinicalMedicine, 50:101515.