Tak Wah Mak

Microbiology and Immunology

Discovered the T-Cell receptor, a key to the human immune system

"Don’t be afraid to tackle science if you enjoy it."

October 4, 1946


Toronto, Ontario

Family Members
  • Father: Kent Mak
  • Mother: Shu-tak (Chan)
  • Spouse: Shirley Suet-Wan Lau, died 1998
  • Children: Shi-Lan, Shi-Yen

Absent-minded, impulsive, driven, too gentle, never loses temper

Favorite Music
Mozart’s Piano Sonata #331

Other Interests
Tennis, golf

Professor of Immunology at the University of Toronto, Senior Scientist, Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto; Director, Amgen Institute, Toronto

Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer, Toronto


  • BSc (Biochemistry) University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1967
  • MSc (Biophysics) University of Wisconsin, Madison, 1968
  • PhD (Biochemistry) University of Alberta, Edmonton, 1971

  • E.W.R. Steacie Award, National Sciences and Engineering Research Council, Ottawa, 1984
  • Ayerst Award, Canadian Biochemical Society, 1985
  • Merit Award, Federation of Chinese Professionals of Canada, 1985
  • Stacie Prize, Stacie Trust Foundation, 1986
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, 1986
  • Canadian Association of Manufacturers of Medical Devices Award 1988
  • Emil von Behring Prize, Phillips-Universitat Marburg, West Germany,1988
  • U. of Alberta 75th Anniversary Distinguished Scientist Award, 1989
  • Gairdner International Award, Gairdner Foundation, 1989
  • McLaughlin Medal, Royal Society of Canada, 1990
  • Canadian Foundation for AIDS Research Award, 1991
  • Cinader Award, 1994
  • Royal Society of London, 1994
  • Sloan Prize (General Motors Cancer Foundation), 1994
  • King Faisal International Prize for Medicine, 1995
  • Officer of the Order of Canada, 2000
  • Izaak Walton Killam Prize, 2003
  • Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize, 2003


Professor Howard Temin at the University of Wisconsin; Ernest McCulloch, Director, Ontario Cancer Institute 1983-92; Roland R. Ruekert, Director, Virology, University of Wisconsin. The Professor who introduced me to science was Roland Rueckert from the university of Wisconsin. All the above individuals taught me to think of hypotheses, test them experimentally, and formulate new concepts based on them.

Last Updated
January 15, 2012


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