Famous Filipino Chemists and their Significant Contributions

I am sure you are familiar with famous foreign scientists such as Marie Curie, Linus Pauling, Antoine Lavoisier, and Dmitri Mendeleev. You see them in books and in online articles as famous individuals who have contributed significant discoveries in the field of chemistry. If you are a Filipino student reading this article right now, can you name some Filipino chemists who are popular for their contributions in chemistry? I guess you can’t even name at least one chemist. Am I right?

I know your teacher asked you to research some famous Filipino chemists and their significant scientific contributions as your homework. The purpose of this homework is to familiarize you to these people and be inspired with their achievements. Perhaps, they may serve as your inspiration to pursue a career in chemistry and contribute to the advancement of this science. Chemistry is a rewarding and exciting career that you should consider when you are deciding what to take in college.

In the meantime, familiarize yourself to the following Filipino chemists and learn to appreciate their significant contributions in chemistry.

Clara Lim-Sylianco

Education:

  • B.S. in Chemistry, Silliman University, 1949
  • M.S. in Chemistry, University of the Philippines, 1953
  • Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Organic Chemistry, University of Iowa, 1957

Awards and Recognitions:

  • National Scientist Award (1994)
  • Fellow of the Royal Society (1958)
  • UP Endowment Professorial Chair in Chemistry (1974-1977)
  • Gregorio Y. Zara Award (1977)

Significant Contributions:

  • She has numerous discoveries in environmental mutagens that earned her laboratory at the University of the Philippines the designation of being an international center for the detection of mutagens by the Research Planning in Biological Sciences, Washington D.C. in 1986. Mutagens are agents that can cause genetic mutation.

Baldomero Olivera

Education:

  • B.S. in Chemistry, University of the Philippines, 1960
  • Ph.D. in Biophysical Chemistry, California Institute of Technology, 1966

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Harvard University 2007 “Scientist of the Year”
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor
  • Elected Member of the Institute of Medicine, American Philosophical Society, and U.S. National Academy of Sciences
  • Editorial board member of various prestigious international journals

Significant Contributions:

  • He has amazing discoveries in the neuropharmacology of various peptides isolated from the venom of cone (Conus) snails which are carnivorous, predatory marine snails which thrive in tropical and subtropical habitats. Some of these peptides are now developed as drugs for the treatment of pain, epilepsy, and other disorders of the nervous system.

Luz Oliveros Belardo

Education:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Pharmacy, University of the Philippines, 1929
  • Master’s Degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of the Philippines, 1933
  • Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Connecticut, 1957

Awards and Recognitions:

  • National Scientist Award (1987)
  • Distinguished Leadership Award in Chemistry, USA (1985)
  • Professional Regulation Commission Award in Pharmacy (1983)
  • National Research Council of the Philippines Award in Phytochemistry (1984)
  • Lunsford-Richardson Award in Pharmacy, USA  (1956)
  • Waseda University Plaque of Recognition, Japan (1981)

Significant Contributions:

  • From his research studies on the phytochemical properties of Philippine plants, Dr. Luz Belardo produced thirty-three extractions of essential oils used as scents, flavoring, and herbal medicines.

Lourdes Cruz

Education:

  • B.S. in Chemistry, University of the Philippines, 1962
  • M.S. in Biochemistry, University of Iowa, 1966
  • Ph.D. in Biochemistry, University of Iowa, 1968

Awards and Recognitions:

  • National Scientist Award (2008)
  • NRCP Achievement Award in Chemistry (1982)
  • Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service Award (Biochemistry) 1986
  • NAST Outstanding Young Scientist Award (1981)

Significant Contributions:

  • Dr. Cruz has significant discoveries in the biochemistry of conotoxins or the toxins found in the venom of marine Conus snails. She characterized the biochemical properties of various peptides isolated from the snail venom and published her findings in prestigious international journals. Dr. Cruz has helped develop conotoxins for the purpose biochemical probes in studying brain activities. She has published more than one hundred articles in biochemistry journals worldwide.

Francisco Santos

Education:

  • A.B., University of the Philippines, 1914
  • M.S., University of the Philippines, 1919
  • Ph.D. in Agricultural Chemistry, Yale University, 1922

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Distinguished Service Medal for outstanding contribution in the field of nutrition among Filipinos (1955)
  • Andres Soriano award in chemistry (1956)
  • University of the Philippines Alumni award (1979)

Significant Contributions:

  • Dr. Santos studies the nutritional value and chemical composition of local foods in the Philippines. His findings were used to help detect and solve problems with Filipino diets. Moreover, his research was used to improve the diet of those locals living in impoverished areas of the Philippines.

Alfredo Santos

Education:

  • B.S. in Pharmacy, University of the Philippines
  • Doctorate in Pharmacy, University of Santo Tomas
  • Doctorate in Philosophy, Westfalische Wilhelms Universitat Munster, 1929

Awards and Recognitions:

  • National Scientist Award (1978)
  • PhilAAS Outstanding Scientist Award (1973)
  • Outstanding Pharmacist Researcher of the Philippine Pharmaceutical Association (1953)
  • Pres. Magsaysay’s Distinguished Service Star (1954)

Significant Contributions:

  • Dr. Santos isolated and elucidated phaeantharine and other alkaloids from Philippine medicinal plants. These alkaloids are used in the production of drugs that treat different diseases. His goal was to alleviate the high prices of drugs by reducing the use of imported raw materials for dug production.

Amando Kapauan

Education:

  • B.S. in Chemistry, University of the Philippines, 1952
  • Ph.D.,  University of Southern California, 1959

Significant Contributions:

  • Dr. Kapauan is best known for his study on the effect of heavy metals particularly mercury in water, soil, and fish. He also invented and improved chemical instrumentation. He also designed and built electrochemical systems which have been publised in international journals like Analytical Chemistry, the leading journal of analytical chemistry worldwide.

Julian Banzon

Education:

  • B.S. in Chemistry, University of the Philippines, 1930
  • Ph.D. in Biophysical Chemistry, Iowa State University, 1940

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Philsugin Award  from the Crop Society of the Philippines (1976)
  • Chemist of the Year Award  from the Professional Regulation Commission (1978)
  • Distinguished Service Award  from Integrated Chemist of the Philippines, Inc. (1980)

Significant Contributions:

  • Dr. Banzon is known for his researched methods of producing alternative fuels. He experimented with the production of ethyl esters fuels from coconut and sugarcane, and invented a means of extracting residual coconut oil by a chemical process rather than a physical process.

Ernesto Del Rosario

Education:

  • Ph.D. in Chemistry

Awards and Recognitions:

  • TOYM Awardee for Natural Science (1977)
  • An award from DOST-National Academy of Science and Technology for his outstanding research achievements in biotechnology and applied physical chemistry .

Significant Contributions:

  • Dr. Del Rosario invented methods of alcohol production from starchy and cellulosic materials, one method of continuous-flow alcohol fermentation process, and a method of yeast production from waste coconut water.

You may also be interested with  famous foreign chemists.