Professor Tak Mak FRS
Tak Mak is a medical researcher best known for his discovery of the T-cell receptor in 1984 — a major advance in the field of immunology. He also pioneered the use of genetically altered mice in scientific studies, leading to further important breakthroughs in immunology and an improved understanding of cancer at the cellular level.
His later research has sought ways of targeting cancer metabolism — the relationship between cancer and metabolism. Co-founding a biopharmaceutical company to develop medicines to tackle this area, Tak and his colleagues made a number of discoveries concerning relevant enzymes — including a type of pyruvate kinase that plays a role in producing ATP, the cell’s chemical energy source — and their involvement in cancer.
Tak has received a huge number of awards and honours in recognition of his work, including the Canada Gairdner International Award in 1989 and the King Faisal Prize for Medicine in 1995. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2000 and inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2008.