Dr. Mak’s research interests center on immune recognition and regulation as well as cell survival and cell death in normal and malignant cells. He was the leading scientist of the group that first cloned the genes of the human T cell antigen receptor. Dr. Mak’s work also includes leading the creation of a series of genetically altered mice that proved critical to unraveling intracellular programs governing the development and function of the immune system and the dissection of signal transduction cascades in various cell survival and apoptotic pathways. His laboratory team is also expert in basic cancer research both in vitro and in vivo. They have published numerous scientific papers on cancer biology, including the initial discovery of the functions of the tumor suppressor gene PTEN. The also found that the breast cancer susceptibility genes BRCA1, BRCA2 and Chk2 are related to DNA repair. More recently, they have determined that IDH mutations are involved in cancerogenesis and transform stem cell functions through alterations of epigenetics.
To complement Dr. Mak’s laboratory’s excellence in basic research, he has initiated an anticancer drug discovery program based on his extensive industrial and commercialization experience. Thus, his group has significant experience in recognizing promising drug targets performing translational and preclinical studies and assisting with early stage clinical testing.
In addition to his academic credentials, Dr. Mak has extensive industrial and commercialization experience. Numerous highly respected researchers and scientists in both academia and industry from around the world have trained in his laboratory.