A major figure in the fields of molecular and cellular biology
In 1984, Dr. Mak solved one of the toughest problems in immunology – the structure of the T cell receptor for antigens. Until then, the nature of its antigen receptor had been unknown. In fact, the principal idea was that the T cell receptor was some unusual form of antibody.
Dr. Mak discovered that T cells actually use an entirely different set of genes for antigen recognition. He showed that the T cell receptor for antigen was, in many ways, analogous in design to antibodies, yet totally different in genetic origin and sequence. It is impossible to understate the importance and impact of this seminal discovery on all fields of immunology. The next twenty-five years saw Dr. Mak blaze a remarkable trail in the molecular biology of the immune system and in cancer.