Lynne Maquat, Ph.D., the J. Lowell Orbison Endowed Chair and Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, was honored with the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB) Jubilee Lectureship in September. The IUBMB unites biochemists and molecular biologists in 75 countries and is devoted to promoting research and education in biochemistry and molecular biology, giving particular attention to areas where the subject is still in its early development.
The IUBMB Jubilee Lectureship was established to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the First International Congress of Biochemistry that was held in Cambridge, England in 1949, at which the initial steps were taken that led to the formation of IUBMB. Maquat gave the keynote lecture at the IUBMB Molecular Biosystems Conference in Puerto Varas, Chile on September 30 and was presented with a medal in recognition of the event.
The founding director of the University of Rochester's Center for RNA Biology, Maquat has spent her career deciphering the many roles that RNA plays in sickness and in health. She's an international leader in the field and is credited with several major discoveries that are informing a new generation of therapies for a wide range of genetic disorders.
Her lecture, titled "Nonsense-mediated mRNA Decay in Human Health and Disease," described her discovery of nonsense-mediated mRNA decay or NMD and how this important surveillance system protects against mistakes in gene expression that lead to disease. She also discussed ongoing work on how misregulation of NMD in Fragile X Syndrome, the most common single gene cause of intellectual disability and autism, results in neuronal defects that typify this disorder.