Professor Mak Tak Wah
Professor Mak Tak Wah
OC, PhD, DSc(Hons), FRSC, FRS
Professor, Depts of Medical Biophysics and Immunology, University of Toronto
Director, Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network, Canada
Professor, University of Hong Kong

Professor Tak Mak is internationally known for his work in the molecular biology of cancer and the immune system. He is a Professor in the Department of Medical Biophysics and the Department of Immunology at the University of Toronto; the Director of the Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre; and a Senior Scientist at the Ontario Cancer Institute; and a Clinical Professor in the Faculty of Medicine of The University of Hong Kong.

Professor Mak is a world leader in the genetics of immunology and cancer. 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 1,400 times. Since this landmark discovery, Professor Mak has focused on elucidating the mechanisms underlying immune responses and tumorigenesis. He pioneered the use of genetically engineered mouse strains to identify genetic susceptibility factors associated with various immune disorders or different types of cancer. In particular, his team discovered that CTLA4 is a negative regulator of T cell activation (cited 3,000 times), paving the way for the development of anti-CTLA4 agents now in clinical use for autoimmune diseases.

Recognitions include:

  • Officer of the Order of Canada
  • Gairdner Foundation International Award (Canada)
  • Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) Fellow of the Royal Society (Canada)
  • Fellow of the Royal Society (U.K.)
  • King Faisal Prize for Medicine (Saudi Arabia) Sloan Prize of the GM Cancer Foundation (USA)
  • Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize (Germany)
  • Medicine Doctor Honoris Causa, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  • Signal Transduction Society/Cell Communication and Signaling (STS/CCS) Honorary Medal 2016

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