520 Parliament Garden Way NW, Kennesaw, GA 30144

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Please join us on Thursday, March 23, 2023, for a visit from one of the College’s most successful alumni, Professor Ali Shilatifard! This will be his first time visiting campus since his graduation, and we would like to give him a warm welcome to KSU!



  • Lecture: 12:30 – 1:30 pm in HS 1000
  • Lecture reception with light refreshments: 1:30 – 2:30 pm in HS 1001

Giveaway (current KSU students only): Attend the lecture & be entered to win a pair of AirPods Pro!


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Lecture Details

Title: “Principles of Epigenetics and Chromatin in Development and Human Disease”

Abstract: In 1996, Dr. Shilatifard identified the biochemical function of the Mixed Lineage Leukemia (MLL) gene translocation partner for the first time. The translocation partner, a gene called ELL, encodes an elongation factor: a protein that controls when, where and how fast the RNA Polymerase II transcription machinery can “read out” the instructions encoded in our genes. This discovery began a scientific journey to better understand elongation factors and other transcriptional control mechanisms, both in embryonic development and in cancer. Taking you along on this journey, Dr. Shilatifard will describe how he isolated all the other MLL translocation partners in a “tour de force” application of biochemistry and molecular genetics, resulting in the astounding finding that these seemingly unrelated proteins actually function together within the (now widely known) Super Elongation Complex (SEC). In further research, the SEC emerged as a central factor regulating gene transcription at the elongation stage, and the lab has developed chemical compounds to disrupt or inhibit the Super Elongation Complex that are now in pre-clinical studies for the treatment of cancers caused by transcriptional defects. The story continues with his lab’s current research investigating how elongation factors, chromatin and the epigenome control transcription in human development and disease.


Dr. Ali Shilatifard, Chairman and Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, graduated from Kennesaw State University with a degree in Chemistry. Now, Shilatifard is a renowned cancer biologist, dedicating his career to revealing the causes of childhood leukemia and other cancers. He leverages his findings for development of new cancer therapies. Learn more about Professor Shilatifard's research!



  • Janet Arras
  • Sahar Yarmohammadtoosky

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