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Ariel Fernandez

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Ariel Fernandez
Dr. Ariel Fernandez, 2016.jpg
Born (1957-04-08) April 8, 1957 (age 62)
  • Argentina
  • USA
Alma mater
Known forDehydrons
Scientific career
ThesisStructural Stability of Chemical Systems at Critical Regimes (1984)
Doctoral advisorOktay Sinanoğlu

Ariel Fernandez (born Ariel Fernández Stigliano, April 8, 1957) is an ArgentinianAmerican physical chemist and pharmaceutical researcher.[1]

Education and early career

Fernandez received Licentiate degrees in Chemistry (1979) and Mathematics (1980) from the Universidad Nacional del Sur, Argentina.[1] He then earned a Ph.D. from Yale University in 1984 with a thesis entitled Structural Stability of Chemical Systems at Critical Regimes[2] in the lab of Oktay Sinanoğlu. His early published papers also list him as being associated with the Weizmann Institute of Science, Princeton University, and the University of California at San Diego. He was a senior researcher in the division of Nobel laureate Manfred Eigen at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry.[1]


Fernandez held the Karl F. Hasselmann Professorship of Bioengineering at Rice University until 2011.[3] He is a member of the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) in Argentina.[4] Fernandez is listed as an editor for multiple journals published by OMICS Publishing Group. He does biotechnology consulting and has been involved with startups.[1]

Fernandez developed the concept of the dehydron,[5] an adhesive structural defect in a soluble protein that promotes its own dehydration.[6] A dehydron consists of an intramolecular hydrogen bond that is "underwrapped" or incompletely shielded from attack by water in the protein's solvation shell.[7] Dehydrons cause "epistructural tension", that is, interfacial tension around the protein structure[8] and thus promote protein–protein interactions and protein–ligand associations.[9] The nonconserved nature of protein dehydrons has implications for drug discovery, as dehydrons may be targeted by highly specific drugs/ligands engineered to improve dehydron wrapping upon binding.[10] Thus, dehydrons constitute effective selectivity filters for drug design, giving rise to so-called "wrapping technology", a platform to design safer drugs.[11] This technology was first applied by Fernandez and collaborators to redesign the anticancer drug Gleevec, in order to remove its potential cardiotoxicity.[12][13]

Fernandez has published books and peer-reviewed articles.[14][15] Four of his articles have been questioned by journals that had earlier accepted them. Publications in BMC Genomics,[16][17] Nature,[18][19] and PLOS Genetics[20][21] have been flagged with expressions of concern, and publication of an article in Annual Review of Genetics has been withheld.[22][23] In 2006, a Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences article was retracted as an apparent duplicate publication.[24][25] Fernandez responded saying that no evidence has been published in the scientific literature that the data in those papers are invalid.[26]


Fernandez was awarded the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Distinguished New Faculty in 1989;[1] the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar in 1991;[27] a Guggenheim fellowship in 1995;[28] and is an Elected Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (2006).[29]

Published works


  • Transformative Concepts for Drug Design: Target Wrapping, by Ariel Fernández (ISBN 978-3642117916, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2010).
  • Biomolecular Interfaces, by Ariel Fernández Stigliano (ISBN 978-3319168494, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, Heidelberg, 2015).
  • Physics at the Biomolecular Interface, by Ariel Fernández (ISBN 978-3319308517, Springer International Publishing AG, Switzerland, 2016).
  • A Mathematical Approach to Protein Biophysics, by L. Ridgeway Scott and Ariel Fernández (ISBN 978-3319660318, Springer, 2017).


According to his Google Scholar profile,[30] Fernandez's highest-cited articles include:


US 8466154, Methods and compositions related to wrapping of dehydrons. Date of Patent: June 18, 2013; Assignee: The Board of Regents of the University of Texas System; Inventors: Ariel Fernandez, William Bornmann, Gabriel Lopez-Berestein, Angela Sanguino, Zheng-Hong Peng, Anil K. Sood [31]

US 9051387, Inhibition of MyBP-C binding to myosin as a treatment for heart failure. Date of Patent: June 9, 2015; Assignee: Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation; Inventors: Richard L. Moss, Ariel Fernandez [32]


  1. ^ a b c d e Ariel Fernandez. "Ariel Fernandez CV and Biographical Narrative".
  2. ^ Ariel Fernandez. Yale University Dissertation: Structural Stability of Chemical Systems at Critical Regimes (Dissipative Structures, Potential Energy Surfaces). Published/Created:1984
  3. ^ "Administration and faculty", Catalog 2010–2011, Rice University, archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-11-25, retrieved 2014-12-02.
  4. ^ "Comunicación - Conicet". CONICET.
  5. ^ Fernández, A; Scott, R (September 2003). "Dehydron: a structurally encoded signal for protein interaction". Biophys. J. 85 (3): 1914–28. doi:10.1016/S0006-3495(03)74619-0. PMC 1303363. PMID 12944304.
  6. ^ Fernández, A; Scott, LR (2003). "Adherence of packing defects in soluble proteins". Phys. Rev. Lett. 91 (1): 018102. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.91.018102. PMID 12906578.
  7. ^ Koppes S. for University of Chicago News Office. Discovery of new sticky force that binds proteins could lead to better drug design. 2 July 2003 [1]
  8. ^ Fernández, A (May 2012). "Epistructural tension promotes protein associations". Phys. Rev. Lett. 108 (18): 188102. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.108.188102. hdl:11336/17929. PMID 22681121.
  9. ^ Monroe D. Focus: Proteins Hook up Where Water Allows. Physics 2012 May 4; 5, 51 [2]
  10. ^ Crunkhorn S. Anticancer drugs: Redesigning kinase inhibitors. February 2008. Nature Revs Drug Discovery 7:120-121 doi 10.1038/nrd2524 [3]
  11. ^ Boyd J. for Rice University News and Media. Drug design: New book introduces fresh approach. 28 April 2010 [4]
  12. ^ Demetri G. D. Structural reengineering of imatinib to decrease cardiac risk in cancer therapy.2007 Dec 3; J Clin Invest. 117(12):3650–3653. doi 10.1172/JCI34252 [5]
  13. ^ Dunham W. Reworked Gleevec curbs heart-related complication. REUTERS December 3, 2007 [6]
  14. ^ ORCID. "Ariel Fernandez (0000-0002-5102-4294) - ORCID | Connecting Research and Researchers". Retrieved 2017-06-03.
  15. ^ "Scopus - Welcome to Scopus". Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  16. ^ Kowalczuk, M; Nanda, S; Moylan, E (Apr 2013). "Expression of concern: Subfunctionalization reduces the fitness cost of gene duplication in humans by buffering dosage imbalances". BMC Genomics. 14: 260. doi:10.1186/1471-2164-14-260. PMC 3639916. PMID 23594279.
  17. ^ "'Conflicting investigations' prompt expression of concern in BMC Genomics".
  18. ^ Fernandez, A; Lynch, M (Dec 2014). "Editorial Expression of Concern: Non-adaptive origins of interactome complexity". Nature. 516 (7531): 440. doi:10.1038/nature13141. PMC 4757426. PMID 25470052.
  19. ^ "Nature issues Expression of Concern for paper by author who threatened to sue Retraction Watch".
  20. ^ The PLoS Genetics Editors (Sep 2015). "Expression of Concern: Protein Under-Wrapping Causes Dosage Sensitivity and Decreases Gene Duplicability". PLOS Genetics. 11 (9): e1005499. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005499. PMC 4569175. PMID 26367774.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  21. ^ "PLOS Genetics updates flagged paper with expression of concern".
  22. ^ "Editorial Note on 'Supramolecular Evolution of Protein Organization' by Ariel Fernández".
  23. ^ "Fernández genetics paper in limbo over data concerns".
  24. ^ Cozzarelli, N. R.; Scott, R.; Berry, R. S. (2006). "Retraction for Fernández et al., Packing defects as selectivity switches for drug-based protein inhibitors". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 103 (11): 323–328. doi:10.1073/pnas.0601034103. PMC 1326172. PMID 16387853.
  25. ^ "PLOS Genetics investigating paper by Ariel Fernandez", Retraction Watch, 9 January 2015
  26. ^ Post on January 23, 2016.
  27. ^ "Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards Program Past Awards" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-07-05. Retrieved 2014-12-03.
  28. ^ "Ariel Fernández". Fellows. John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
  29. ^ "College of Fellows". Members. American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
  30. ^ "Ariel Fernandez - Google Scholar Citations". Retrieved 26 January 2016.
  31. ^ Justia Patents, Inventor: Ariel Fernandez [7]
  32. ^ Justia Patents, Inventor: Ariel Fernandez [8]