Dr. Rustgi brings a demonstrated exceptional track record of scientific expertise, leadership, progressive academic administrative experience, and recognition to his role as director of the NCI-designated Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center.
Dr. Rustgi received his undergraduate degree from Yale University and graduated summa cum laude with a major in molecular biophysics and bochemistry. He received his MD degree from Duke University, where he was elected to the alpha omega alpha. Rustgi completed his internal medicine residency and chief residency at Beth Israel Hospital (Harvard) and gastroenterology fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH, Harvard), and his first faculty position at MGH/Harvard where he rose to the rank of Associate Professor of Medicine (GI, Hematology-Oncology), where he established the first GI cancer genetics clinic and first joint GI oncology conferences and clinics with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI).
In 1998, Dr. Rustgi was recruited to the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) as chief of gastroenterology, T. Grier Miller Professor of Medicine and Genetics, and director of two centers where he worked for 20 years. In 2019, he was recruited to his current positions to Columbia University/New York Presbyterian Hospital as Director of HICCC, Irving Professor of Medicine, associate dean of oncology and chief of cancer services.
Dr. Rustgi’s interdisciplinary research in GI cancers includes esophageal, pancreatic, and colon with interrelated themes of tumor initiation, microenvironment, and metastasis. His work has been continuously NIH funded (NIH R01s; NCI P01, U54, U01). His 350 articles have been published in Nature, Nature Genetics, Cancer Cell, Cell Stem Cell, Science Immunology, NEJM, JAMA, Genes & Development, Journal of Clinical Investigation, Gastroenterology, and seminal protocols for his pioneering work in 3D culture and organoid models.
At Penn’s NCI-designated Abramson Cancer Center, Dr. Rustgi co-led the Tumor Biology Program. During this same period, he directed an interdisciplinary NIDDK P30 Center for Molecular Studies in Digestive and Liver Diseases, and was director of a Penn-CHOP Center in digestive, liver, and pancreatic medicine.
At Columbia, Dr. Rustgi has established new programs in basic/translational/population research; interdisciplinary initiatives with engineering, biology, and chemistry; and expanded clinical trials programs.
In addition to serving as an editor and contributor to major textbooks, Dr. Rustgi has served as editor-in-chief of gastroenterology and on the editorial board of multiple journals. He also has served as a member of the AACR Foundation Board of Trustees (and is very active in AACR committees), National Colon Cancer Research Alliance, PanCAN, Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation, and National Pancreas Foundation.
Dr. Rustgi has been president of the American Gastroenterology Association-AGA (16,000 members), International Society of GI Carcinogenesis, and American Pancreas Association. Dr. Rustgi is an active member of NIH review and advisory bodies. A notable example is his past membership on the NIDDK Advisory Council. In this capacity, he provided secondary peer review and advised the NIDDK on the broader issues of scientific programs, procedures, and policies of the institute.
Dr. Rustgi has trained more than 40 students and 40 postdoctoral fellows and research associates, many of whom have now established their own independent laboratories and obtained leadership positions. He has been director or associate director of two T32 training grants. In recognition of his mentorship, he was the recipient of the Arthur K. Asbury Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award and Distinguished Mentor Award from the biomedical postdoctoral program; and received two mentorship awards by the AGA — one for “lifetime” achievement. As an advocate for women and diversity, he has created relevant committees to help recruit and retain underrepresented minorities at all levels, and fostering cancer research in multicultural GI related health issues, outcomes, and policy. He helped obtain an NIH R25 grant, “Investing in the Future to Promote Diversity in GI Training.”
Dr. Rustgi has received an American Cancer Society Research Professorship and has been elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigation, American Association of Physicians, American Society of Clinical and Climatological Association, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and National Academy of Medicine.