Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Shilatifard Laboratory


Ali Shilatifard, PhD, is the Robert Francis Furchgott Professor and Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, and a Professor of Pediatrics, at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. He is also the Director of the Simpson Querrey Center for 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 mixed-lineage leukemia (MLL) translocation partners, which is when a section of one chromosome changes place with that of another chromosome, creating a mutation. In the 20 years since that discovery, he has dedicated his career to revealing the causes of childhood leukemia and other cancers, and providing detailed molecular insight into the role of epigenetics in cancer.

Research from his laboratory is leading to the development of promising, epigenetic target-specific drugs for childhood leukemia and other forms of cancer. The epigenetic inhibitors developed in the laboratory are currently being tested to treat childhood leukemia, brain cancer, and other solid tumors. His lab has been continuously funded by multiple grants from the National Cancer Institute, the National Institutes of Health, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the American Cancer Society to conduct this research.

Recognition of his work from the scientific and biomedical research communities includes:

He is deeply committed to the training and career development of scientists and physician-scientists. In addition to the many students and postdoctoral fellows he’s mentored through his laboratory, Shilatifard was an instructor for 16 years for the three-week Gene Expression course at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. He has presented over 400 invited lectures at scientific meetings and universities in the United States and at international institutes and has organized over 20 international meetings on chromatin, transcription, epigenetics and cancer.

Shilatifard has served as senior editor for the journal Science, and is currently serving as the Editor for Science Advances. He previously served as editor for Molecular and Cellular Biology and as a member of eLife's Board of Reviewing Editors. He also serves on the scientific advisory boards of Genentech, the Max Planck Society, and a Biomedicine Jury Member of the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards.

Ali Shilatifard, PhD

See Shilatifard's faculty profile.

Download Shilatifard’s current CV.