Staff profile - Johnson Mak

Staff image

Prof Johnson Mak

Position: Chair In Infectious Diseases
Faculty or Division: Faculty of Health
Department: School of Medicine
Campus: CSIRO
Email: j.mak@deakin.edu.au

Biography

Biography summary

Education

1991  McGill University, Canada.  B.Sc.  Biochemistry
1996  McGill University, Canada.  Ph.D.  Experimental Medicine (Virology)

Professional Experience
1991 - 1996 Ph.D. training, McGill AIDS Centre, Montreal, Canada.
1996 - 2010 Research Officer, Senior Research Officer, Senior Research Fellow, and Principle Research Fellow, The Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research, Melbourne, Australia.
1999 - 2010 Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology; Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Monash University, Clayton, Australia.
2003 - 2006 Inaugural Chair, Burnet Virology Program, The Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health
2010 - 2014 Australian Research Council Future Fellow, Deakin University; CSIRO AAHL
2011 - Current Chair, Infectious Diseases, School of Medicine, Faculty of Health, Deakin University
2011 - Current Head, HIV and Emerging Virus Laboratory, CSIRO AAHL

Honours and Awards
1993 - 1996 Canadian National Health Research and Development Program (NHRDP) Ph.D. Training Fellowship.
1996 Canadian NHRDP Post-Doctoral Fellowship, awarded to train in a Howard Hughes laboratory. The fellowship was declined by the applicant.
1996 - 1997 Macfarlane Burnet Centre Fellowship.
1998 - 2001 Australian NHMRC Peter Doherty Fellowship
2002 - 2009 Monash Logan Research Fellowship
2002 Otto Basler Travel Grant
2004 - 2008 Pfizer Foundation Fellowship
2005 CASS Foundation Travel Award
2006 CASS Foundation Travel Award
2010 - 2014 Australian Research Council Future Fellow
2011  Frank Fenner Award, Australian Society for Microbiology
2011  Jane Allen Lecture, Cambridge Infectious Diseases, Cambridge University
2015  Outstanding Australian NHMRC External Assessment (Top 0.5% in the country)

Professional Discipline and Peer Review

Member: American Society for Microbiology (ASM-USA), Australian Society for HIV Medicine (ASHM), Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR), Australian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB-Aus), Australian Society of Microbiology (ASM-Aus), American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB-USA).

2006 - 2012 Executive of Victorian Infection and Immunity Network (formerly known as Monash Infection and Immunity Network)
2008 - 2012 Vice President of Corporate Affairs of Australian Society for Microbiology
2010  Member, Organizing committee for the 2011 Inaugural Lorne Infection and Immunity Meeting

1999 - Current NHMRC and ARC External Grant Assessors

2002 - 2012 NHMRC Grant Reveiw Panel Member (4x), Deputy Chair (1x), Chair (2x).

Journal Editorial: Retrovirology (Editorial Broad, Associate Editor, 2004-Current), Virology Journal (Section Editor, 2004-Current),Viruses (Guest Editor, 2015).


Qualifications

  • Bachelor of Science, McGill University, 1991
  • Doctor of Philosophy, McGill University, 1996


Career highlights

1993 - 1996 Canadian National Health Research and Development Program (NHRDP) Ph.D. Training Fellowship.

1998 - 2001 Australian NHMRC Peter Doherty Fellowship

2002 - 2009 Monash Logan Fellow, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Monash University

2004 - 2009 Pfizer Foundation Fellow, The Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health; Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Monash University

2010 - 2014 Australian Research Council Future Fellow, Deakin University; CSIRO AAHL

2011  Frank Fenner Award, Australian Society for Microbiology

2011  Jane Allen Lecture, Cambridge Infectious Diseases, Cambridge University


Affiliations

Visiting Scientist, CSIRO AAHL


Professional activities

Patents
1998 Provisional patent for the design of a new generation of gene delivery vector for clinical trial.
1999  Full International Patent - “Novel Retrovirus Constructs”
  US Application No. 60/079,772.
  International application No. PCT/AU99/00219.
2003  Provisional patent for the compositions and methods for the prevention and treatment of pathogenic infections.

Professional Discipline
2000 -  Member, American Society for Microbiology (ASM-USA).
2001 -  Member, Australian Society for HIV Medicine (ASHM).
2001 -  Member, Australian Society for Medical Research (ASMR).
2001 - Member of Victorian branch ASMR organizing committee for Medical Research Week.
2002 - Member, Australian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB-Aus).
2002 -  Member, Australian Society of Microbiology (ASM-Aus).
2004 -   Member, National Scientific Advisory Council for ASM-Aus.
2005 - 2009 Member, Organizing Committee for 2005 to 2009 ASHM
2005 - 2009 Member, Organizing Committee for 2005, 08, 09 ACH2
2006   Chair, Division of Virology, Organizing Committee for 2006 ASM-Aus General Meeting
2006 - 2012 Executive of Victorian Infection and Immunity Network (formerly known as Monash Infection and Immunity Network)
2008 - 2012 Vice President of Corporate Affairs of Australian Society for Microbiology
2010  Member, Organizing committee for the 2011 Inaugural Lorne Infection and Immunity Meeting
2010 -  Member, American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB-USA)

Session Chair for Scientific Conferences
2001   ASHM
2002   ASHM
2004   ASHM, ACH2
2005   ASHM, ACH2, ASM
2006  ASHM, ACH2, ASM, Lorne Protein Conference, Australian-China Biomedical Research Conference
2007  CSHL Retroviruses, IAS Meeting
2008 - 10 ASM and ACH2 conferences
2010  CSHL Retroviruses, Lorne Infection and Immunity
2011 Lorne Infection and Immunity
2014 - 15  CSHL Retroviruses


Peer review
1999 -   NHMRC grant assessor.
2001  ICAAP (International Congress on AIDS in Asia and Pacific) reviewer
2002 - Ad hoc reviewer for J Biol Chem, PLoS Med, J Virol, EMBO J, FEBS Lett, Trends in Micro, Chem & Biol, J Leuko Biol, J Mol Biol, Retrovirology, Virology, Arch Virol, Future Virol,, J Gen Virol, Immuno Cell Biol, J Med Virol, JVirol Methods, J Viral Entry, Viruses and J BioMed Sci.
2002   Basic science rapporteur for 2002 ASHM
2003 - 2008 Member of NHMRC Grant Review Panel, Microbiology; Deputy Chair 2006 and Chair for 2007 & 2008.
2004   Basic science rapporteur for 2004 ASHM
2004 -  Member of Editorial Boards: Retrovirology, Virology Journal.
2007 -  Grant assessor for MRC UK, Wellcome Trust, the Netherlands AIDS Fond, The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, Prostate Cancer Foundation Australia, and Research Grants Council (Hong Kong).
2011 - Member of Editorial Boards: Future Virology, World Journal of Biological Chemistry, World Journal of Pharmacology
2011 - 2013  Panel Member, Australian Eureka Prize for Infectious Diseases
2012 - Member of Editorial Boards: Virus Research, Clinical and Translational Immunology
2012 - Section Editor: Virology Journal
2012  Member of NHMRC Grant Review Panel, Microbiology and Virology
2013 -  Associate Editor: Retrovirology
2015  Guest Editor for Viruses: Next Generation Sequencing Special Issue

LinkedIn profile

https://au.linkedin.com/in/johnson-mak-559b38a


Academic

Teaching Interests

Viruses, Microbiology, Medical Innovation, Biotechnology


Subjects and units currently teaching

HMM 302

http://www.deakin.edu.au/future-students/courses/unit.php?unit=HMM302&return_to=%2Ffuture-students%2Fcourses%2Fcourse.php%3Fcourse%3DS323%26stutype%3Dlocal

HMM 303

http://www.deakin.edu.au/future-students/courses/unit.php?unit=HMM303&return_to=%2Ffuture-students%2Fcourses%2Fdetail.php%3Fcustomer_cd%3DC%26service_item%3DS323%26version_number%3D3%26element_cd%3DMAJORS-STRUCTURE%26sub_item_number%3D7%26return_to%3D%252Ffuture-students%252Fcourses%252Fcourse.php%253Fcourse%253DS323

HMH 401

http://www.deakin.edu.au/future-students/courses/unit.php?unit=HMH401&return_to=%2Ffuture-students%2Fcourses%2Fcourse.php%3Fcourse%3DH413


Knowledge areas

HIV, viruses, emerging infectious diseases, molecular biology, cell biology, protein biochemistry, protein biophysics, next generation sequencing, fluorescent imaging, super-resolution microscopy, cryo-electron microscopy, virus entry and assembly, virus-host cell interplay, antiviral discovery, host-restriction factor discovery, structural biology


Research

Research projects

Project 1: Dissecting the early steps of HIV infection

Viruses are considered neither live nor dead, and are therefore thought to be inert until after entering the host cells. Using cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) and single molecule fluorescence imaging, we have reported that HIV undergo a previously unknown pre-entry priming size expansion event upon receptor engagement, challenging the dogma of viral entry, more specifically, we showed that cell-free viruses are able to perform biological process as seen with live organism. These virus expansion events are induced by engagement of the receptor-binding site of the viral envelope (Env), and involves the re-modelling of multiple virus compartments. Using Mass-spectrometry analysis, we have identified a number of candidate cellular proteins that are involved in this process. The objective of this project is to use in silico approach and siRNA knock down system to evaluate their contribution in this process. This project utilizes a combination of virology, molecular biology, tissue culture and cell biology approaches.

Project 2: Understanding the formation of HIV particles

HIV protein Gag drives the formation of virus particle. During HIV assembly, roughly 2500-5000 Gag molecules will come together for the assembly of immature particle, which is followed by a proteolytic processing maturation to generate infectious virus particles. The formation of virus particles and maturation process is highly regulated, and the smallest interference of these events can block the replication of HIV. The objective of this proposal is to use a combination of protein biochemistry and biophysics to define the mechanism of HIV assembly for the development of novel anti-viral. This project utilizes a combination of molecular biology, protein biochemistry, protein biophysics and electron microscopy approaches.

Project 3: Finding the HIV latently infected cells

With combinational anti-retroviral therapy (cART), HIV infected individuals who have access to these treatments can live a relatively normal life with life expectancy approaching non-infected individuals. However, the last trace of HIV latently infected cells in the body has kept these HIV infected individual to maintain their drug intake for the rest of their lives. Our inability to target, to quantify or to locate these latently infected cells represents the only obstacle to cure HIV. It has recently appreciated that many of these latently infected cells might have produce between 1-1000 copies of viral RNA despite no HIV protein is produced. The objective of this proposal is to provide proof of concept data to fluorescently tag HIV infected cells post-infection. Our design will light up HIV infected cells even these cells have entered viral latency, allowing us to have a means to identify the sanctuary sites of HIV latently infected cells in vivo. This project utilizes a combination of virology, molecular biology and tissue culture approaches.


Research interests

HIV, viruses, emerging infectious diseases, molecular biology, cell biology, protein biochemistry, protein biophysics, next generation sequencing, fluorescent imaging, super-resolution microscopy, cryo-electron microscopy, virus entry and assembly, virus-host cell interplay, antiviral discovery, host-restriction factor discovery, structural biology


Publications

Publications

Please refer to Deakin Find a Researcher

https://www.deakin.edu.au/apps/research/find-a-researcher/27016/Prof-Johnson-Mak


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