New Endeavors

Following many years of dedicated service to the pursuit of discovery at the Stowers Institute, both Ali Shilatifard, PhD, and Rong Li, PhD, were selected for prestigious academic leadership positions at distinguished universities.

Beginning last fall, the Shilatifard Lab began transitioning to Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, where Shilatifard had been appointed chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics. At the Stowers Institute, Shilatifard’s group made several significant contributions to the fields of epigenetics (the study of nongenetic cellular memory) and transcription (the first step in gene expression).

Shilatifard’s research team collaborated heavily with many members of the Institute’s core centers, including proteomics and molecular biology. This collaborative approach, combined with his energy and enthusiasm for science, will serve him well in his new leadership role.

Members of the Rong Li Lab plan to transition to their new location at Johns Hopkins University beginning this summer when Li begins her appointment as the Bloomberg Distinguished Professor and director for the Center for Cell Dynamics. Li’s contribution to the advancement of scientific knowledge while at the Institute includes a greater understanding of how cells establish their distinct structures and how they organize themselves in order to divide and function properly. Often, cells that don’t organize and divide properly are a hallmark of cancer.

As a Stowers investigator, Li has been a passionate advocate for science education, and will continue her legacy of motivating and inspiring young scientists to explore a variety of biological questions as a director in a strong academic environment.