Mark MacLachlan completed his BSc at University of British Columbia (UBC) in 1995 then his PhD at University of Toronto in 1999, where he worked on solid-state inorganic chemistry and inorganic polymers with Ian Manners and Geoffrey Ozin. After completing an NSERC postdoctoral fellowship with Timothy Swager at MIT, he returned to UBC in 2001 to begin his independent career. His research is in the field of supramolecular inorganic chemistry, where he applies principles of supramolecular chemistry to assemble new materials with interesting structure and function. He has worked extensively in the area of coordination chemistry, developing new metal-containing macrocycles, Prussian blue nanocomposites, porous metal-organic frameworks, and other porous solid-state materials. His most recent breakthrough was the discovery and development of a new type of inorganic glass that has pores arranged in a helical structure, giving them photonic properties. In 2009–2010, MacLachlan spent a sabbatical year at the RWTH (Aachen) as a Humboldt visiting scholar. He has received awards for both teaching and research, including an E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship from NSERC for 2012–2014.
University of British Columbia