Leading Cancer Researcher to Direct Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center

Photo: Barbara Alper

Anil K. Rustgi, MD, a leading cancer researcher and physician whose career has focused on gastrointestinal tumors, has been named the Herbert and Florence Irving Director of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center at Columbia and NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Dr. Rustgi is also professor of medicine and associate dean of oncology at VP&S.

Dr. Rustgi joined Columbia from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was the T. Grier Miller Professor of Medicine and Genetics, American Cancer Society Research Professor, and chief of gastroenterology. He also co-led the Tumor Biology Program.

Dr. Rustgi’s research focuses on the intrinsic cellular processes and tumor microenvironment that lead to the development, progression, and metastasis of gastrointestinal cancers, including cancer of the esophagus, pancreas, and colon. Dr. Rustgi uses mouse models and 3D culture models to study the role of cancer-causing genes and tumor suppressor genes in the pathogenesis of GI cancers. 

Dr. Rustgi graduated summa cum laude from Yale College with a bachelor’s degree in molecular biophysics and biochemistry and earned his medical degree at Duke University, where he was elected to Alpha Omega Alpha. He completed an internal medicine residency at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and a GI fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. He served as associate professor of medicine at Harvard before joining the University of Pennsylvania in 1998.

Beginning in 2020, Dr. Rustgi will serve as president of the American Pancreatic Association.