Dr. Ali Shilatifard

Dr. Ali Shilatifard, Professor and Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics and the Director, Simpson Querrey Center for Epigenetics of the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, is a world renown biochemist and molecular biologist and a respected expert in the field of transcription and epigenetics.  As a Jane Coffin Childs postdoctoral fellow, Shilatifard made a seminal contribution to the field of leukemia biology by identifying the first function of any of the MLL translocation partners. Since then, he has continued to contribute to the field of transcription, chromatin biology, and cancer biology through many discoveries including those of the COMPASS and SEC complexes, which are demonstrating to be central to the mechanisms involved in the development of leukemia. Currently, the inhibitors developed in Shilatifard’s laboratory towards the COMPASS family and the SEC are being tested for the treatment of childhood leukemia, brain cancer, and triple negative breast tumors.  For his contributions to our understanding of cancer biology. Shilatifard has been recognized by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, as the recipient of the Sword of the American Cancer Society, and the AMGEN Award by the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  Recently, Shilatifard was selected as an inaugural recipient of the Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Cancer. He has served as a Senior Editor for the journal Science, and is currently serving as the Editor for Science’s open access journal Science Advances.  He also serves on the Scientific Advisory Boards of Genentech, and the Max Planck Society.

Selected References

Shilatifard, A., Lane, W.S., Jackson, K.W., Conaway, R.C., and Conaway, J.W. (1996). An RNA polymerase II elongation factor encoded by the human ELL gene. Science, 271, 1873-1876.

-Lee, J.S., Shukla, A., Schneider, J., Swanson, S.K., Washburn, M.P., Florens, L., Bhaumik, S.R., and Shilatifard, A. (2007). Histone crosstalk between H2B monoubiquitination and H3 methylation by COMPASS. Cell, 131, 1084-1096.

-Lin, C., Smith, E.R., Takahashi, H., Lai, K.C., Martin-Brown, S., Florens, L., Washburn, M.P., Conaway, J.W., Conaway, R.C., and Shilatifard,A. (2010).  AFF4, a component of the ELL/P-TEFb elongation complex and a shared subunit of MLL chimeras, can link transcription elongation to leukemia. Mol Cell, 37, 429-437.

-Lin, C., Garruss, A.S., Luo, Z., Guo, F., and Shilatifard, A. (2013). The RNA polymerase II elongation factor Ell3 marks enhancers in embryonic stem cells and primes future gene activation.  Cell, 152, 144-56.

-Herz, H-M., Morgan, M.A., Gao, X., Jackson, J., Rickels, R., Swanson, S.K., Florens, L.,   Washburn, M.P., Eissenberg, J.C., and Shilatifard, A. (2014). Science, 345, 1065-1070.

-Chen, F. Woodfin, A. R., Gardini, A., Rickels, R., Marshall, S. A., Smith, E. R., Shiekhattar, R., and Shilatifard, A. (2015).  PAF1, a molecular regulator of promoter-proximal pausing by RNA polymerase II. Cell, 62,1003-1015.

-Liang, K., Volk A. G, Haug, J. S., Marshall, S. A., Woodfin, A. R., Bartom, E. T., Gilmore, J. M., Florens, L., Washburn, M. P., Sullivan, K, D., Espinosa, J, M., Cannova, J., Zhang, J., Smith, E, R., Crispino, J. D., and Shilatifard, A. (2017) Therapeutic targeting of MLL degradationpathways in MLL-rearranged leukemia. Cell, 168, 59-72.

-Piunti, A., Hashizume, R., Morgan, M. A., Bartom, E. T., Horbinski, C. M., Marshall, S. A., Rendleman, E. J., Ma, Q., Takahashi, Y. H., Woodfin, A. R., Misharin, A. V., Abshiru, N. A., Lulla, R. R., Saratsis, A. M., Kelleher, N. L., James, D. A., and Shilatifard, A. (2017) Heterotypic nucleosome associated BET bromodomain proteins and Polycomb as therapeutic targets in diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas.  Nature Medicine 23, 493-500.

-Chen, F. X., Xie, P., Collings, C. K., Cao K., Aoi, Y., Marshall, S. A., Rendleman, E. J., Ugarenko, M., Ozark, P. A., Zhang, A., Shiekhattar, R., Smith, E. R., Zhang, M. Q., and Shilatifard, A. (2017) PAF1 Regulation of Promoter-Proximal Pause-Release via Enhancer Activation.  Science 357,1294-1298.

-Wang, L., Zhao, Z., Ozark, P. A, Fantini, D., Marshall, S. A, Rendleman, E. J., Cozzolino, K. A., Louis, N., He, X., Morgan, M. A., Takahashi, Y. H., Collings, C. K, Smith, E. R., Ntziachristos, P., Savas, J. N., Zou, L., Hashizume, R., Meeks, J. J., and Shilatifard A. (2018) Resetting the epigenetic balance of Polycomb and COMPASS function at enhancers for cancer therapy. Nature Medicine 2018 Jun;24(6):758.

-Liang, K., Smith, E. R., Aoi, Y., Stoltz, K. L., Katagi, H., Woodfin, A. R., Rendleman, E. J., Marshall, S. A., Murray, D. C., Wang, L., Ozark, P. A., Mishra, R. K., Hashizume, R., Schiltz, G. E., and Shilatifard, A. (2018) Targeting Processive Transcription Elongation via SEC Disruption for MYC-Induced Cancer Therapy. Cell 175, 766-779.

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