Ruth Leff Siegel Award Winners

We are thrilled to announce the winners of the 2023 Ruth Leff Seigel Awards for pancreatic cancer research, Pat Gulhati, MD, PhD and Fay Kastrinos, MD. 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.

National Awardee:

Pat Gulhati, MD, PhD

Dr Pat Gulhati
Pat Gulhati, MD, PhD

Pat Gulhati, MD, PhD is a Physician-Scientist and Assistant Professor of Gastrointestinal Medical Oncology at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.

He received a Bachelor of Science in Physiology with Honors from The University of British Columbia, completed combined MD/PhD training at The University of Texas, performed Internal Medicine research track residency training at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, and subsequently completed subspecialty training in Medical Oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center and a post-doctoral fellowship in Dr. Ronald DePinho’s laboratory.

Recent efforts have focused on understanding the complex interplay between T cells and myeloid cells in the pancreatic tumor microenvironment, and their role in mediating recalcitrance to currently available immunotherapies in pancreatic cancer. This work has led to the development of a novel combinatorial immunotherapy regimen which was highly-active in aggressive preclinical models of pancreatic cancer, and is being developed into a clinical trial for pancreatic cancer patients. Dr. Gulhati’s research program is focused on dissecting the fundamental principles governing pancreatic cancer initiation, metastasis and therapeutic resistance with an emphasis on the functional contribution of the tumor microenvironment. The overarching goal of his research program is to identify novel treatment strategies against pancreatic cancer that can be translated to the clinic.

Past National Awardees

  • Dr. Ronald A. DePinho, 2022
  • Dr. Anirban Maitra, 2021
  • Dr. Tannishtha Reya, 2020
  • 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

CUIMC Awardee:

Fay Kastrinos, MD

Dr Fay Kastrinos
Fay Kastrinos, MD

Dr. Kastrinos is an academic gastroenterologist with primary research and clinical interests in the genetics and prevention of gastrointestinal cancers, notably pancreatic and colorectal cancers.

Upon completing her internal medicine residency at the University of Massachusetts in 2000, she pursued a fellowship in gastroenterology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. She earned a Master’s of Public Health from Harvard University during her fellowship training and also acquired subspecialty training in clinical cancer genetics at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Her research there included the implementation of germline genetic testing in the standard evaluation of patients with gastrointestinal cancers as well as the development of clinical prediction models to identify individuals with inherited gastrointestinal cancers. She joined the faculty of the Gastroenterology Division at Brigham and Women’s Hospital upon completion of her fellowship training in 2006.

Dr. Kastrinos was subsequently recruited to Columbia University Irving Medical Center- New York Presbyterian Hospital in 2009. As faculty in the Department of Medicine’s Division of Digestive and Liver Diseases she established and directs a multi-disciplinary specialty clinic at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center, for genetic risk assessment and cancer prevention in familial gastrointestinal syndromes. In 2019, she was also appointed Director of the Muzzi Mirza Pancreatic Cancer Prevention & Genetics Program at Columbia’s Pancreas Center, which spearheaded the first pancreatic cancer screening program in New York City. She has been involved in the design and analyses of large-scale studies involving multiple national and international collaborators to improve genetic risk assessment and optimize surveillance strategies for inherited pancreatic and colorectal cancer. Dr. Kastrinos has been the recipient of multiple awards, including a K07 Career Development award and R01 from the National Cancer Institute and has served as co-PI on multiple NCI and industry sponsored studies related to the early detection and prevention of gastrointestinal cancers. Invested in the care and longitudinal follow-up of hundreds of individuals and families at highest risk for pancreatic cancer who undergo screening, her research includes the validation of multiple candidate biomarkers for the early detection of pancreatic cancer. In collaboration with one of the leading commercial genetics laboratories in the US, Dr. Kastrinos is also exploring the use of polygenic risk stores to better stratify individuals who carry germline pathogenic variants associated with pancreatic cancer. Dr. Kastrinos has published in numerous peer-reviewed and prominent journals including JAMA, Gastroenterology, Gut, and Journal of Clinical Oncology and her work has led to significant clinical contributions in her respective field and has impacted been incorporated into multiple guidelines, including those of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and the National and International Cancer of the Pancreas Screening (CAPS) Consortia.

Dr. Kastrinos has served as council member of the Collaborative Group of the Americas for Inherited Gastrointestinal Cancers for nearly a decade, is an active member of the American Gastroenterological Association, serving on multiple committees, as well as the American and NY Societies of Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. She currently serves on the Executive Committee of the PRECEDE (Pancreatic Cancer Early Detection) Consortium.

Past Columbia University Irving Medical Center Ruth Leff Siegel Awardees

  • Dr. Anil K. Rustgi, 2022
  • Dr. Lyndon Luk, 2021
  • 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