Shilatifard Laboratory


Recent Videos from the Shilatifard Lab

Therapeutic targeting of metabolic vulnerabilities in cancers with MLL3/4-COMPASS epigenetic regulator mutations

A recent publication in JCI from the Simpson Querrey Institute for Epigenetics revealed an intimate interplay between epigenetic regulation of gene expression and metabolism and its alteration. This study provides possible treatment strategies of diseases associated with MLL3 and MLL4 loss-of-function mutations and depicts a metabolic dependency map in cells that loose MLL3 and MLL4 expression.

Enhancing HIV-1 latency reversal through regulating the elongating RNA Pol II pause-release by a small-molecule disruptor of PAF1C

A recent publication in Science Advances from the Simpson Querrey Institute for Epigenetics describes the regulation of paused RNA Polymerase II in HIV latency reversal and the discovery of a possible small molecule disruptor in this process.

SPT6 Functions in Transcriptional Pause/Release via PAF1C Recruitment

A recent publication in Molecular Cell from the Simpson Querrey Institute for Epigenetics describes new understandings of the RNA polymerase II elongation complex. SPT6 recruits the PAF1 complex and removes NELF in order for RNA polymerase II to be released.

Transcription Elongation Checkpoint Discovered

A recent publication in Molecular Cell from the Simpson Querrey Institute for Epigenetics describes how the loss of SPT5 from RNA polymerase II, results in the degradation of the largest subunit RPB1. These findings provide insight into productive elongation and how the misregulation of SPT5 is associated with human diseases.

Epigenetic Targeted Therapy of Gene Expression in Leukemic Cells

A recent publication in Nature Cancer from the Simpson Querrey Institute for Epigenetics that describes the effects of ASXL1 mutations in BAP1 and the role it plays in leukemic pathogenesis. As well as the discovery of an inhibitor that could help.

Uncoupling Histone H3K4 trimethylation from transcription

A recent publication in Nature Genetics from the Simpson Querrey Institute for Epigenetics describes the balance between COMPASS, PRC2, and DNA methylation. This discovery disentangles Histone H3 K4 trimethylation from transcription and reveals how these players work in concert to dictate transcriptional decisions.

Balancing Regulation of Gene Expression in Cancer

Mutations in the COMPASS and Polycomb families of chromatin modifiers have been identified that disrupt the balanced regulation of gene expression (Wang et al., Nature Medicine 2018) (Piunti & Shilatifard, Science 2016). Researchers have discovered mechanisms to restore expression of tumor suppressor genes in several cancers, including bladder cancer, which are being evaluated in ongoing clinical trials.

Epigeneics and Cancer wih Ali Shilaifard

Epigenetics and Cancer with Ali Shilatifard

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine's Breakthroughs Podcast features Ali Shilatifard.

Ali Shilatifard’s Lab

Welcome to Ali Shilatifard’s Lab. Learn more about the work Ali and his lab are doing in order to reveal the causes of childhood leukemia by investigating the role of epigenetics in cancer.

News from the Shilatifard Lab

What We Do

The regulation of gene expression by RNA polymerase II is essential for development and differentiation, and its misregulation contributes to the pathogenesis of many forms of cancers. The goal of our laboratory is to define the molecular mechanisms underlying cancer pathogenesis and to identify potential targets for therapy. These studies have been done through detailed understanding of proteins and protein complexes that regulate chromatin modifications, transcriptional initiation, and transcriptional elongation. Several of such findings from our lab are now under clinical studies for the treatment of bladder cancer and pediatric brain tumors.

Research Focus

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Our Lab

Meet the members of the Shilatifard laboratory

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Taking A Northwestern Direction

“Northwestern isn’t just a compass point on a map. Here, it’s a mindset. A Northwestern Direction is a journey that each one of us creates and defines as our own. There’s always a new adventure, a new idea, and a new discovery—no matter what path you pursue.”

Read about Dr. Shilatifard's Northwestern Direction