Eukaryotic gene transcription is an essential and highly regulated process that is dependent on a large set of protein factors centered on the enzyme RNA polymerase II (Pol II). The Paf1 complex (Pol II Associated Factor 1) is a 5-subunit transcription elongation factor, conserved from yeast to humans, that travels with the elongating polymerase and is required for the maintenance of histone modifications, the recruitment of RNA processing factors, and the communication with transcriptional activators. Mutation or deletion of Paf1C subunits is associated with a variety of cancers, including leukemia and parathyroid tumors, underscoring its biological importance. How the Paf1 complex coordinates its many activities is unknown.VanDemark’s work is focused on understanding the architecture and function of the Paf1 complex. His lab uses a variety of techniques including X-ray crystallography to discover at the molecular level how the Paf1 complex functions and how it is regulated. VanDemark’s talk will focus on his group’s contributions to understanding how highly conserved domains within the Paf1 complex facilitate Paf1 association with active genes.