Toronto, ON – Dr Tak Mak, university professor with the University of Toronto’s medical biophysics and immunology department, has been elected a foreign honorary member of one of the most prestigious scholarly academies in the United States.
The American Academy, whose past membership has included revolutionary thinkers such as Albert Einstein and Winston Churchill, counts more than 150 Nobel laureates and 50 Pulitzer prize winners among its current members. Membership, determined by current members through a highly selective process, recognizes outstanding intellectual achievement, leadership and creativity in all fields.
"Throughout its history, the academy has convened the leading thinkers of the day, from diverse perspectives, to participate in projects and studies that advance the public good," said Leslie Berlowitz, executive director of the academy. "This distinguished class will continue that tradition of cherishing knowledge and shaping the future."
Dr Mak, a senior scientist at Princess Margaret Hospital’s Ontario Cancer Institute and founding director of the University Health Network’s Advanced Medical Discovery Institute, became the first researcher to clone the genes for the human T-cell receptor, a key part of the immune system. His landmark scientific paper has been cited more than 1,200 times since it was published in 1984 and has allowed great advancements in understanding and treating diseases such as AIDS, cancer and rheumatoid arthritis.