Researcher biography

Jeffrey Mak (PhD) is an organic chemist at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience. In his research, he seeks to apply a mechanistic approach to scientific problem solving. His publications cover a range of disciplines such as total synthesis, biological and medicinal chemistry, and physical organic chemistry, and include publications in Nature, Nature Communications, Nature Immunology and Angewandte Chemie. In 2017, Dr Mak was selected as an American Chemical Society CAS Division SciFinder Future Leader (1 of 25 selected internationally).

Jeffrey Mak was awarded the Harriett Marks Bursary and a UQ University Medal in 2007. He undertook doctorate studies in natural product total synthesis with Prof. Craig Williams. This culminated in the first total synthesis of two caged diterpenes, (−)-neovibsanin G and (−)-14-epi-neovibsanin G. Next, he joined Prof. David Fairlie's group at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience. He is currently active in the fields of drug development and chemical biology. In recent years, his research has particularly focused on mucosal associated invariant T (MAIT) cells, which are a newly characterised subset of immune cells important in antibacterial defence. In 2014, he was part of an Australian team that discovered the identity of the antigens that activate MAIT cells, as published in Nature, playing a key role in the chemical synthesis and characterisation of the unstable and structurally unprecedented antigens (Nature Communications, 2017).