Fitch Lectureship 2015

Our speaker was Tak Mak on September 28, 2015, hosted by Tom Gajewski.

Dr. Tak W. Mak 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. He received a B.S. and M.S. from the University
of Wisconsin, Madison and a Ph.D. from the University of Alberta. Dr.
Mak is internationally recognized for his work on the molecular biology
of cancer and the immune system. In 1984, he identied the human
genes encoding the T cell antigen receptor. Subsequently, he
pioneered the use of genetically engineered mouse strains to identify
genetic susceptibility factors associated with various immune disorders
and dierent types of cancer. In particular, in 1995 his group demonstrated
that CTLA-4 is a negative regulator of T cell activation, helping
pave the way for the development of anti-CTLA-4 antibodies for the
treatment of cancer. Additionally, Dr. Mak’s group made major contributions
to elucidating the functions of the protein encoded by the
PTEN tumor suppressor gene and dening the relationship between
the breast cancer susceptibility genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 and defects in
DNA repair. Most recently, Dr. Mak’s work has focused on the study of
the functions of various gene products in normal and cancerous cells,
yielding new insights to facilitate the identication of new drug targets
and the development of more eective cancer therapies. He has
received many honors and awards, including The Gairdner Award, The
King Faisal Prize, The Sloan Prize, and The Paul Ehrlich Prize. He is a
Fellow of The Royal Society of London and a Foreign Associate of the
National Academy of Sciences (USA), and has been named to the Order
of Canada and the Order of Ontario.