Ariel Fernández, the protein researcher whose theories of drug design lately have come in for questioning, has lost a paper, at least for the moment.
The article, “Supramolecular Evolution of Protein Organization,” appeared online in Annual Reviews of Genetics prior to print. It lists Fernández’s affiliation as ProWD Sciences, in Madison, Wisc. Not much exists on the web about that company, however, except an under-construction site. (ProWD, by the way, is short for PROtein-Water-Dehydron, Fernández’s area of interest.)
Ariel Fernandez, an Argentine chemist (who claims to hold the fastest-awarded PhD from Yale) and the subject of institutional investigations at multiple universities, has corrected several papers recently. What makes the moves particularly unusual — and interesting — is the stated reason for the amendments: disclaiming any funding from the National Institutes of Health for the work.
Fernandez was the recipient in 2005 of a $275,880 award “Protein packing defects as functional markers and drug targets.” The following year he received $294,217, and in 2007, $284,461, for the same four-year project, if we’re reading the link correctly.
BMC Genomics has issued an expression of concern for a 2011 paper by a prominent Argentine chemist, Ariel Fernandez, whose work covers several disciplines — “His research spans representation theory in algebra, physical chemistry, molecular biophysics, and more recently, molecular evolution and drug discovery” — and institutions. And therein lies the tale.
Fernandez appeared as the first author of the article, titled “Subfunctionalization reduces the fitness cost of gene duplication in humans by buffering dosage imbalances,” along with a pair of researchers from Taiwan. Fernandez’s affiliations were listed as being with the Instituto Argentino de Matemática “Alberto P. Calderón”, CONICET (National Research Council of Argentina), in Buenos Aires, the Department of Computer Science at the University of Chicago, and the Morgridge Institute for Research, in Madison, Wisc.