Lynne Maquat
  • 2021 Wolf Prize in Medicine


American biochemist and molecular biologist. J. Lowell Orbison Endowed Chair and Professor of Biochemistry & Biophysics and of Oncology at the University of Rochester Medical Centre. In 2015, she received the Canada Gairdner International Award for “the discovery of the mechanism that destroys mutant messenger RNAs in human cells, nonsense- mediated mRNA decay.”

Education and Work Experience

1979, Ph.D. in Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison
2000-Present, Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester Medical Centre (URMC)
2003-Present, Professor of Oncology, School of Medicine and Dentistry, URMC; Chair, Graduate Women in Science, University of Rochester
2008-Present, Director, Centre for RNA Biology, University of Rochester

Honors and Awards

2015, Canada Gairdner International Award
2018, Wiley Prize in Biomedical Sciences
2018, FASEB Excellence in Science Award
2021, Wolf Prize in Medicine

Major Academic Achievements

Professor Maquat discovered nonsense-mediated mRNA decay (NMD) in 1981 and, subsequently, the exon-junction complex (EJC) and how the EJC marks mRNAs for a quality-control “pioneer” round of protein synthesis. She also discovered Staufen- mediated mRNA decay, which mechanistically competes with NMD and, by so doing, new roles for short interspersed elements and long non-coding RNAs.