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Ariel Fernandez

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Ariel Fernandez's Bio:

Ariel Fernandez (born Ariel Fernandez Stigliano) is an Argentine-American theoretical chemist and mathematician specialized in translational medicine and molecular biophysics. He got his Ph. D. in Chemical Physics from Yale University in 1984, the fastest awarded Yale Ph. D. He performed research at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, under the aegis of Nobel laureate Manfred Eigen. Ariel Fernandez held faculty positions at the National Research Council in his native Argentina, at University of Indiana and at Rice University. At the latter institution Ariel Fernandez was the holder of the Karl F. Hasselmann endowed chaired professorship in bioengineering until 2011. He also served as Distinguished Investigator at the Morgridge Institute of Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has lately combined entrepreneurial and research activities at his own pharmaceutical consultancy, Ariel Fernandez Innovation, at the Argentine National Research Council (CONICET) and at Collegium Basilea, the Institute for Advanced Study in Basel, Switzerland.

Ariel Fernandez received various awards including the State of Buenos Aires medal (1980), the Feinberg Fellowship at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel (1984), the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Distinguished New Faculty Award (1989), The Camille and Henry Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award (1991), the J. S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (1995), Humboldt Award (1995), Eli Lilly Award (2004), Rice endowed chair professorship (2005), John and Ann Doerr Foundation Award (2006), etc. He was elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering in 2006 and became an honorary member of Collegium Basilea, Switzerland, in the same year.

Ariel Fernandez has lectured and published extensively in front-tier journals on a broad range of topics: algebra and representation theory, dynamical systems theory of non-equilibrium statistical thermodynamics, molecular biophysics, chemical physics of biological interfaces, rational drug design, molecular cancer therapeutics and molecular evolution from a structural biology perspective. He is credited with 340 peer-reviewed scientific publications in prestigious venues such as Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences, Annual Reviews of Genetics, Nature, Physical Review Letters, Genome Research and others. Ariel Fernandez has occasionally published in the popular press in venues such as ABC News/Science Section, Al Jazeera, Korea Times, etc. His work has been reviewed at Nature, Chemistry World (UK Royal Society of Chemistry), Scientific American, etc.

Some of Ariel Fernandez’s most celebrated contributions pertain to the field of drug design where his work can be described as translational. Using his physico-chemical insights, he introduced the concept of dehydron, a sticky structural singularity in soluble proteins, and exploited this concept to construct a selectivity filter to design safer drugs. Thus, Ariel Fernandez championed the so-called wrapping technology in molecular engineering, and assessed the impact of these advances in the area of molecular cancer therapeutics. The wrapping technology enables the practitioner to design drugs with higher specificity than those currently available on the market by wrapping (i. e. shielding from water attack) the unique dehydron patterns of targeted proteins. The wrapping technology and its impact and ramifications for molecular therapeutics are described in Ariel Fernandez’s book: “Transformative Concepts for Drug Design: Target Wrapping”, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 2010. The practical applications of the wrapping designs in the context of targeted cancer therapy are outlined in the US patent No. 8,466,154 awarded to Ariel Fernandez and his collaborators from the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

To most scientists, drug discovery remains a rather arcane field where trial and error and serendipity play a pivotal role, while rational design is relegated to an ex-post-facto speculation. According to Ariel Fernandez’s perception, a paradigm shift is needed. In his book, Ariel Fernandez addresses these problems introducing novel theoretical tools from molecular biophysics than can revitalize drug discovery to match the daunting challenges of the post-genomic era. Thus, Ariel Fernandez’s dehydron physics is brought to fruition to design more efficacious and safer drugs. Details on these views and paradigm shift may be found in the Distinguished Scientific Leader lecture delivered by Ariel Fernandez at the Georgia Institute of Technology on November 10, 2010, available at YouTube.

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Ariel Fernandez's Interests & Activities:

Consultancy in drug design.

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