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Violeta Rus, MD, PhD

Academic Title:


Primary Appointment:



MSTF Room 8-34

Phone (Primary):

(410) 706-8456


(410) 706-0231

Education and Training

University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca, Romania - MD, 1999, Medicine

University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Cluj-Napoca, Romania - Ph.D, 1992, Rheumatology

University of Maryland School of Medicine - Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1995, Immunology

Saint Agnes Hospital, Baltimore - Residency, 1997, Medicine

University of Maryland School of Medicine - Fellowship, 1999, Rheumatology

Research/Clinical Keywords

autoimmunity, systemic lupus erythematosus, immunomodulation

Highlighted Publications

Via CS, Shustov A, Rus V, Lang T, Nguyen P, Finkelman FD. (2001) In vivo neutralization of TNF-alpha promotes humoral autoimmunity by preventing the induction of CTL. J Immunol ;167:6821-6.

Rus V, Atamas SP, Shustova V, Luzina IG, Selaru F, Magder LS, Via CS. (2002) Expression of cytokine- and chemokine-related genes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from lupus patients by cDNA array. Clin Immunol; 102:283-9

Via, C.S., Rus,V., Gately, M., and Finkelman, F.D. (1994). Interleukin-12 stimulates the development of acute graft vs. host disease in mice that would normally develop chronic, autoimmune graft vs host disease. Journal of Immunology, 153(9), 4040-4047.

Rus, V., Svetic, A., Nguyen, P., Gause, W.C., and Via, C.S. (1995). Kinetics of TH1 and Th2 cytokine production during the early course of acute and chronic murine graft- vs-host disease: regulatory role of donor CD8+ T cells. Journal of Immunology, 155(5), 2396-2406, 1995.

Via, C.S., Rus, V., Nguyen, P., Linsley, P., and Gause, W.C. (1996). Differential effect of CTLA4IG on murine graft versus host disease (GVHD) development: CTLA4IG prevents both acute and chronic GVHD development but reverses only chronic GVHD. Journal of Immunology, 157(9),4258-4267.

 Nguyen, V., Luzina, I., Rus, H., Tegla, C., Chen, C., and Rus, V. (2012). IL-21 promotes lupus-like disease in chronic graft- versus-host disease through both CD4 T Cell- and B cell intrinsic mechanisms. Journal of Immunology, 189(2):1081-93.

Rus, V., Chen, H., Zernetkina, V., Magder, L.S., Mathai, S., Hochberg, M.C., and Via, C.S. (2004). Gene expression profiling in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from lupus patients with active and inactive disease. Clinical Immunology, 112(3), 231-234

Nguyen, V., Cudrici, C., Zernetkina, V., Niculescu, F., Rus, H., Drachenberg, C., and Rus, V. (2009). TRAIL, DR4 and DR5 are upregulated in kidneys from patients with lupus nephritis and exert proliferative and proinflammatory effects. Clinical Immunology,132(1), 32-42

Research Interests

Dr Rus’ lab objective is to define the mechanisms that regulate (auto) ab mediated responses in lupus with the goal of developing immune based therapy which can modulate these responses. Research is performed in both the human system and in the well characterized chronic graft-versus –host disease (GVHD) model of lupus like disease. Currrent studies are aimed at defining the in vivo role of Respose Gene to Complement-32 (RGC-32) in the development of the (auto)ab mediated immune response. The focus of the research is on the role of RGC-32 in Th17 differentiation in vitro and in vivo in the GVHD model of lupus and on the manipulation of RGC-32 as a potential therapeutic tool in lupus.

In addition the lab is currently investigating the role of RGC-32 in patients with lupus nephritis, with a special emphasis on its role in tubulointerstitial disease.

Clinical Specialty Details

Dr Rus’ practice is specialized in systemic lupus erythematosus and other systemic autoimmune rheumatic disorders. 

Awards and Affiliations

Other Experience and Professional Memberships

1999-present American College of Rheumatology
2010-2013 Board of Advisors, State of Maryland Health Department
2011 NIH Peer Review Committee: Special emphasis panel
2013 NIH Peer Review Committee: Autoimmunity Center of Excellence panel

2015 NIH Peer Review Committee: Autoimmunity Center of Excellence panel

2016 NIH Peer Review Committee: Autoimmunity Center of Excellence panel


1993 – 1994 Arthritis Foundation Fellowship Award
1998 – 1999 Arthritis Foundation Fellowship Award
1998 – 1999 Mary Betty Stevens Lupus Foundation Clinical Fellowship Award
2012 Excellence in Teaching, University of Maryland School of Medicine

Grants and Contracts

      Veterans Administration  Merit Award: Role of RGC-32 in gliosis