Scientist Honored for Research Contributions at Wilmot Cancer Center

October 16, 2002

A scientist who studies cellular mistakes was recently honored by the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Lynne E. Maquat, Ph.D., professor of biochemistry and biophysics, received the 2002 Davey Memorial Award for outstanding contributions to cancer research.

The Davey Memorial Award was established in 1997 in memory of R. Bruce Davey, a local businessman and community leader who lost his battle with cancer in 1996. It is presented annually to a Wilmot Cancer Center scientist at the annual scientific symposium.

Maquat was honored for her research into nonsense – flawed molecular coding that results in abnormally shortened proteins and could cause harm. The flaw is oftentimes a mistake in the genetic material, DNA, or its product, RNA, which encodes instructions for making proteins. Mistakes happen routinely and are also at the root of a large percentage of diseases, including cancer.

She has made the major discoveries in this field, which have defined mechanisms by which cells avoid copying mistaken information from their DNA to make the proteins that carry out cellular functions. Her work on this subject has been published regularly in prestigious journals including Cell and Science.

“Dr. Maquat is an outstanding researcher and her work has impacted scientists around the world,” said Hartmut Land, Ph.D., director of the Department of Biomedical Genetics at the Medical Center.

The extraordinary quality of her accomplishments is well known and she has been funded by two major grants from the National Institutes of Health to continue her research.

Maquat joined the Wilmot Cancer Center in 2000, after having worked as a cancer research scientist at Roswell Park Cancer Institute for 18 years. A graduate of University of Connecticut, she earned her doctorate in biochemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and did post-doctoral work at the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research.

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