Lynne Maquat is the J. Lowell Orbison Endowed Chair, Professor of Biochemistry & Biophysics, Founding Director of the Center for RNA Biology, and Founding Chair of Graduate Women in Science at the University of Rochester, Rochester, NY, USA. After obtaining her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and undertaking post-doctoral work at the McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research, she joined Roswell Park Cancer Institute before moving to the University of Rochester. 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. She is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2006), and an elected Member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (2006) and the National Academy of Sciences (2011), and a Batsheva de Rothschild Fellow of the Israel Academy of Sciences & Humanities (2012-3). She received the William C. Rose Award from the American Society for Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (2014) and a Canada Gairdner International Award (2015).