Ruth Leff Siegel Award Winners

We are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2021 Ruth Leff Seigel Awards for pancreatic cancer research, Anirban Maitra, M.B.B.S. and Dr. Lyndon Luk. Each year, The Siegel family entrusts the Pancreas Center to identify the investigator, or team of investigators, who has had the most impactful contribution to the understanding/treatment/advancement of pancreatic cancer. They consider efforts in pancreatic cancer research, including but not limited to basic biology, population biology, public health, and/or translational science. Not only do the winners of the Ruth Leff Siegel Award have a track record of high-quality work in the field, they have also contributed to our understanding of pancreatic cancer in the past year, and will continue to do so in the future.


2021 National Awardee:

Anirban Maitra, M.B.B.S.

Professor and Scientific Director
Sheikh Ahmed Center for Pancreatic Cancer Research
UT MD Anderson Cancer Center

Anirban Maitra, M.B.B.S.Dr. Maitra is Professor of Pathology and Translational Molecular Pathology, Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Distinguished University Chair, and Scientific Director of the Sheikh Ahmed Pancreatic Cancer Research Center at UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston (since August 2013). Dr. Maitra is the Principal Investigator of an NCI-funded laboratory dedicated to pancreatic cancer research. Dr. Maitra has trained close to fifty postdoctoral fellows and graduate students, many of whom are now in independent faculty positions in the United States or worldwide.

The arc of his research career over the past two decades has been defined by contributions made in the spheres of genetics and molecular pathology of pancreatic cancer and its precursor lesions, in both human and cognate mouse models of pancreatic neoplasia. Dr. Maitra is deeply committed towards identifying and implementing translational research opportunities in pancreatic cancer that can improve the survival of patients stricken with this disease. His current research priorities are focused on early detection and cancer interception strategies in high-risk cohorts. At MD Anderson, Dr. Maitra co-leads the Moon Shot program in Pancreatic cancer, a multi-disciplinary tea science initiative to accelerate meaningful progress in pancreatic cancer. Dr. Maitra has been a leader on numerous programmatic grants in pancreatic cancer, funded through both the NCI and foundations such as Stand-Up-To-Cancer, Lustgarten Foundation, and Break Through Cancer. He is deeply committed to mentorship and training the next generation of scientists engaged in pancreatic cancer research.

Past National Awardees

  • Dr. Tannishtha Reya, 2020
  • Dr. Christine Iacobuzio-Donahue, 2019
  • Dr. Harvey Risch, 2018
  • Dr. George Miller, 2017
  • Dr. Raghu Kalluri, 2016
  • Dr. Steven Leach, 2015
  • Dr. Alex Kimmelman, 2014
  • Dr. Ralph Hruban, 2013

2021 Columbia University Irving Medical Center Ruth Leff Siegel Awardee

Dr. Lyndon Luk

Lyndon Luk, MDDr. Lyndon Luk is currently Assistant Professor of Radiology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) at New York Presbyterian Hospital (NYPH) and is board certified in Diagnostic Radiology with a subspecialty in Abdominal/Body Radiology. He received his M.D. from Rutgers University New Jersey Medical School in 2012 and completed his residency training in Diagnostic Radiology at the Columbia University Department of Radiology, where he served as Chief Resident. After graduating, he completed a one-year fellowship in Body MRI imaging at NYU Langone Hospital before returning to CUIMC in 2018. He has served as the Abdominal Imaging Fellowship Director since 2019.

Dr. Luk’s interest in pancreatic imaging started early in his residency, when he frequently attended weekly multidisciplinary pancreas conference with members of the Pancreas Center; he now serves as the primary radiologist at the weekly conference, reviewing a multitude of pancreatic imaging findings for approximately 1,500 cases each year. This formative experience has influenced other facets of Dr. Luk’s career. He frequently teaches pancreatic imaging to radiology residents and fellows and has received both the Department of Radiology Lecturer of the Year and Teacher of the Year awards. His research interests center on pre and post-treatment pancreatic cancer imaging, cystic pancreatic lesions, and radiomics, which is reflected in publications with colleagues both within Columbia University and at other institutions across the country.

Past Columbia University Irving Medical Center Ruth Leff Siegel Awardees

  • Dr. Iok In Christine Chio, 2020
  • Dr. Andrea Califano, 2019
  • Dr. John Chabot, 2018
  • Dr. Susan Bates, 2017
  • Dr. Timothy C. Wang and Professor Jeanine Genkinger, 2016
  • Dr. Kenneth Olive, 2015
  • Dr. Gloria H. Su, 2014
  • Dr. Robert Lance Fine, 2013