Mario A. Tan, PhD: 2021 PFCS Achievement Awardee for Chemical Research

Mario A. Tan, PhD
Professor, Department of Chemistry,
University of Santo Tomas

2021 PFCS Achievement Awardee for Chemical Research

Dr. Mario A. Tan obtained his B.Sc. (2000) and M.Sc. (2004) in Chemistry at the University of Santo Tomas (UST), and Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Chiba University (Japan) in 2010. He is currently a Professor at the Department of Chemistry, College of Science, UST.

Dr. Tan is a natural product chemist, engaging in the isolation, identification, and total synthesis of medicinal plant metabolites of biological importance. He is a productive researcher, having published more than 40 scientific papers in high impact indexed journals.

Foremost in his accomplishments are the significant studies on endemic Pandanus plants demonstrating the rich potential of this plant family as new source of therapeutics. He reported structures of novel alkaloids, some of which were isolated for the first time from some Pandan species. Furthermore, he is also exploring the identification of biologically-active plant metabolites from the endemic Philippine species of the family Rubiaceae. These chemical studies paved the way for the pharmacological understanding of the importance of these new Philippine endemic species which are just awaiting to be explored.

His works on asymmetric total synthesis allowed him to unambiguously determine the absolute stereochemistry of some of novel Pandanus alkaloids. This merited an invitation to write a book chapter from The Alkaloids: Chemistry and Biology (Elsevier), on the progress in the chemistry of Pandanus alkaloids (Tan and Takayama, 2019).

Dr. Tan has shown effective mentoring skills in motivating and guiding his undergraduate and graduate students to do good science in their research work. His students co-authored some of his publications in peer-reviewed indexed journals, both local and international. He has inspired several of his mentees to pursue higher studies and follow his footsteps as a natural product and synthetic chemist.

Dr. Tan further strengthen his research endeavors when he was awarded the Visiting Research Fellowship by the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) in 2013, the 2017 Novartis Next Generation Scientist (Basel, Switzerland), and a fellowship grant at the Bionano Research Institute in Gachon University (Republic of Korea). He was also awarded the 2018 Outstanding Young Scientist in Pharmaceutical Sciences and the 2012 Talent Search for Young Scientists (First Prize) by the National Academy of Science and Technology. Currently, Dr. Tan focuses on the identification of compounds with neuroprotective effects on the aggregation and fibrillization of amyloid-beta as potential inhibitors against Alzheimer’s disease.