Dr Alfredo C Santos (1900 - 1990) was an expert in the field of physical chemistry, and his aim in life was to use his skills to improve the health of his countrymen by developing new affordable medicines from natural sources.
Arguably Dr Santos's most lasting contribution to chemistry, and the world at large, was his work in isolating phaeantharine from certain orchids, such as the dendrobium family, as well as the bulbophyllum and cymbidium families. Phenanthreoids have a multitude of uses in the pharmaceutical industry, with paheantharine, discovered by Dr Santos, used to combat high blood pressure.
Dr Santos also helped to found the National Academy of Science and Technology in 1976 and was awarded the honor of National Scientist of the Philippines two years later by President Marcos.
Learn more about the types of orchids Dr Santos studied by watching this YouTube film on the bulbophyllum species: