William C. Rose Award

Maquat, ‘a pioneer in the field of mRNA regulation’

Lynne Maquat

This is an honor to be shared with many others. I feel very privileged to have worked with so many talented graduate students and postdocs, without whom my lab’s research accomplishments would not have been possible. When I mentor others, I do so with gratitude for those who made my research career possible – supportive professors when I was younger and supportive colleagues, friends and family after I started my own lab..


This year’s winner of the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology William C. Rose award is Lynne Maquat, director of University of Rochester’s Center for RNA Biology and professor in the biochemistry and biophysics department.
Established more than three decades ago and named after a former president of the American Society of Biological Chemists, ASBMB’s precursor, the Rose award recognizes outstanding contributions to biochemical and molecular biological research and a demonstrated commitment to the training of younger scientists.
Maquat began her career as an undergraduate at the University of Connecticut Storrs Campus and continued on to the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry. She remained at UW-Madison for a postdoctoral fellowship in molecular biology and human disease at the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research. Early in her career, she was making groundbreaking discoveries in the field of RNA.
Jeffrey Hayes, professor at the University of Rochester and chairman of the biochemistry and biophysics department, said of Maquat's postdoctoral research: “Importantly, her studies established that the premature termination of mRNA translation can trigger rapid mRNA degradation due to a process termed nonsense-mediated mRNA decay … Thus, even as a postdoc, Lynne was a pioneer in the field of mRNA regulation, and she has continued to make seminal contributions to this field ever since.”
Maquat joined the faculty at Roswell Park Cancer Research, the oldest cancer center in the U.S., before moving to her current professorship at the University of Rochester. During her tenure as a professor, she has trained a large number of graduate-student and postdoctoral researchers who’ve had a great deal of success when moving on to their own laboratories. Olaf Isken, one of Maquat’s former postdoctoral researchers, said that Maquat “showed to me a remarkable commitment to promote my professional career.” As the founder and chair of the University of Rochester Graduate Women in Science Program, Maquat is also a mentor beyond her lab.
In light of her many achievements and commitment to research and mentorship, Maquat is an inspiration to her fellow colleagues. Cecilia Arraiano, professor at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa in Portugal, said, “Throughout her career, Lynne has been an inspiring mentor, supporter and motivator for other people in science, including myself.”
In addition to this latest honor, Maquat has received much recognition, including election to the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She also is a past recipient of the Davey Memorial Award for Outstanding Cancer Research.
Maquat will receive her award at the 2014 ASBMB annual meeting in San Diego, where she will give a presentation. The presentation will take place at 2:55 p.m. Sunday, April 27, in Room 6A of the San Diego Convention Center.

 Shaila KotadiaShaila Kotadia (skotadia@asbmb.org) is an ASBMB science policy fellow.