Physician’s Profile

Anil Rustgi, MD

Department of Medicine
Division of Digestive & Liver Diseases
Director of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, Associate Dean of Oncology, Chief of Cancer Services

Anil K. Rustgi is the Director of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Dr. Rustgi is a world-renowned leader in the field of gastrointestinal oncology. His interdisciplinary research focuses on tumor initiation, the tumor microenvironment and tumor metastasis in the context of gastrointestinal cancers, including cancer of the esophagus, pancreas, and colon. Dr. Rustg's lab works to translate their discoveries into improving molecular diagnostics and finding new experimental therapeutics for patients, and is funded through several grants including an NCI P01 (program project on esophageal cancer), an NCI U54 on Barrett's esophagus, two NIH R01 grants (for pancreatic cancer and colon cancer) and an American Cancer Society Research Professorship. He has more than 300 publications and his work has appeared in high-impact journals such as Nature, Nature Genetics, Nature Medicine, Cancer Cell, Genes and Development, Gastroenterology, Journal of Clinical Investigation, PNAS and New England Journal of Medicine.

He has been elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians and is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Previously, he was president of the American Gastroenterological Association (17,000 members), editor-in-chief of Gastroenterology, and president of the International Society of Gastroenterological Carcinogenesis. Dr. Rustgi will serve as president of the American Pancreatic Association.

He has been recognized for his contributions with numerous awards, including the AGA Julius Friedenwald Lifetime Achievement in Gastroenterology Medal (2017), AGA Distinguished Mentor Award (2016), the Ruth C. Brufsky Award for Excellence in Research in Pancreatic Cancer (2013), the Distinguished Achievement Award from the South Asian American Society for Cancer Research (2012), and an American Cancer Society Research Professorship. In addition he received the top mentorship awards (Arthur Asbury for faculty and one from the postdoctoral fellow program) from his tenure at the University of Pennsylvania.

Dr. Rustgi graduated summa cum laude from Yale College with a bachelor's degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry (departmental honors) and earned his medical degree at Duke University School of Medicine, where he was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honorary society. He completed an internal medicine residency at Beth Israel Hospital and a GI fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH), both of which are affiliates of Harvard Medical School. He also rose to associate professor of medicine at MGH before joining the University of Pennsylvania in 1998, where he served as Chief of Gastroenterology and directed two Centers and NIH T32 training grants until 2018.

Board Certificates
Areas of Expertise:
  • Gastroenterology
Honors & Awards:

1980 Summa cum laude and Department Honors in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, CT

1983 Davison Scholarship for Study of Tropical Diseases in Brazil, Duke University Medical School, Durham, NC

1984 Alpha Omega Alpha and Trent Prize in the History of Medicine, Duke University Medical School, Durham, NC

1987 New England Endoscopy Society Winner for Clinical Study

1991-1995 NIH Clinical Investigator Award

1995 AGA Fiterman Basic Science Research Award (Walter B. Cannon Award)

1996 AGA Funderberg Research Award in Gastric Cancer Biology

1996 American Cancer Society Jr. Faculty Research Award

1997 GRG/AGA Young Investigator Award for Research Achievement in Gastroenterology

1999 Osler Society (Interurban Club) Young Investigator Award

1999 Elected to American Society of Clinical Investigation

2007 Elected to the American Association of Physicians (AAP)

2009 American Cancer Society Research Professor

2010-2014 Selected to NIDDK Council

2012 Arthur Asbury Distinguished Faculty Mentor Award, University of Pennsylvania; and, Biomedical Postdoctoral Program Distinguished Mentor Award, Philadelphia, PA

2013 AGA GI Oncology Distinguished Mentor Award

2013 The Ruth C. Brufsky Award for Excellence in Research in Pancreatic Cancer

2016 AGA Distinguished Mentorship Award

2017 AGA Julius Friedenwald Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award

2017 Elected to Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science

2017 Elected to Membership, American Clinical and Climatological Association

2019 Election to National Academy of Medicine


Reichert M, Bakir B, Moreira L, Pitarresi JR, Feldmann K, Simon L, Suzuki K, Maddipati R, Rhim AD, Schlitter AM, Kriegsmann M, Weichert W, Wirth M, Schuck K, Schneider G, Saur D, Reynolds AB, Klein-Szanto AJ, Pehlivanoglu B, Memis B, Adsay NV, Rustgi AK. Regulation of Epithelial Plasticity Determines Metastatic Organotropism in Pancreatic Cancer. Developmental Cell 2018 Jun 18;45(6):696-711. PMID:29920275

Chatterji P, Hamilton KE, Liang S, Andres SF, Wijeratne HRS, Mizuno R, Simon LA, Hicks PD, Foley SW, Pitarresi JR, Klein-Szanto AJ, Mah AT, Van Landeghem L, Gregory BD, Lengner CJ, Madison BB, Shah P, Rustgi AK. The LIN28B-IMP1 post-transcriptional regulon has opposing effects on oncogenic signaling in the intestine. Genes and Development 2018 Aug 1;32(15-16):1020-1034. PMID:30068703

Stairs DB, Bayne LJ, Rhoades B, Vega ME, Waldron TJ, Kalabis J, Klein-Szanto A, Lee JS, Katz JP, Diehl JA, Reynolds AB, Vonderheide RH, Rustgi AK. Deletion of p120-catenin results in a tumor microenvironment with inflammation and cancer that establishes it as a tumor suppressor gene. Cancer Cell 2011 Apr 12;19(4):470-83. PMID:21481789