An award-winning Canadian researcher, Dr. Mak is known for his pioneering work in the genetics of immunology. In 1984, he led the group that discovered the T-cell receptor, and his published work on the cloning of T-cell antigen receptor genes has been cited over 1200 times. His current focus is on the mechanisms underlying immune responses and tumorigenesis by using genetically engineered mouse strains to identify genetic susceptibility factors associated with different types of cancer. His studies of gene-targeted mutant mice and of the expression level of various gene products in normal and mutant cells are yielding information on the biology of normal and cancerous cells that is crucial to the development of new and more effective cancer therapies.
Dr. Mak has also turned his attention to the emerging field of cancer metabolism. The discovery of the involvement of particular enzymes such as PKM2 and mutated IDH, as well as novel oncometabolites such as 2-hydroxyglutarate, in cancer development have brought a new urgency to finding ways to target cancer metabolism for therapeutic uses.
2008 Elected to the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame
2007 Awarded the Order of Ontario
2004 Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize
2003 Killam Prize, Canada Council for the Arts
2002 Elected Foreign Associate, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C.
2000 Officer of the Order of Canada
1996 Alfred P. Sloan, Jr. Prize, General Motors Cancer Research Foundation
1996 Robert L. Noble Prize, National Cancer Institute of Canada
1995 The King Faisal Prize for Medicine
1994 Elected Fellow, Royal Society, London
1990 McLaughlin Medal, Royal Society of Canada
1989 Gairdner Foundation International Award
1988 Emil von Behring Prize
1986 Elected Fellow, Royal Society of Canada
1972 PhD, University of Alberta