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Bruce K. Rubin, MEngr, MD, MBA, FRCPC

Bruce K. Rubin, MEngr, MD, MBA, FRCPC

Jessie Ball duPont Distinguished
Professor and Chair
Department of Pediatrics
Physician-in-Chief, CHoR

Cystic Fibrosis Center
Pulmonary Medicine

Nelson Clinic, 1st floor

Appointments: (804) 828-CHOR (2467)
Fax: Clinic: (804) 828-2983 Office: (804) 828-2062

Board Certifications


Medical School

Tulane University School of Medicine


Tulane University and The Hospital for Sick Children, Canada


The Hospital for Sick Children


BS: Tulane University (math and physics)
MS: Tulane University (biomedical engineering)
MBA: Wake Forest University, Babcock School of Business
Rhodes Scholar, Oxford University, England

Areas of Interest

Mucus clearance disorders
The technology dependent child
Aerosol therapy
Cystic fibrosis
Severe asthma
Chronic cough
Plastic bronchitis

Research Interests

View Rubin Lab website.

Airway inflammation. We study relationships among inflammatory cells and mediators, infection, mucus secretion, and quality of life; and the mechanisms causing squamous metaplasia and goblet cell hyperplasia. We develop and test new therapies from cell and tissue culture, to animal studies, to clinical trials.

Secretory hyperesponsiveness. Excessive mucus secretion is characteristic of diseases like asthma, COPD, cystic fibrosis, middle lobe syndrome and plastic bronchitis. We study the mechanisms of secretory hyperesponsiveness, characterize the biophysical and transport properties of mucus, and evaluate new therapies with collaborators from around the world. We maintain the International Registry for Plastic Bronchitis.

Nasal and sinus disease. We have studied the physical and transport properties of mucus and sputum for three decades. We have formed a sino-nasal research group with investigators from the Rubin lab and the departments of Ear, Nose and Throat, Allergy, Radiology, Nursing, Emergency Medicine and the School of Engineering to develop new ways to measure the impact of sinus disease and test new therapies including novel aerosol delivery systems.


Dr. Rubin was named chair of the Department of Pediatrics in 2009 and holds a professorship in the VCU School of Engineering. Dr. Rubin came to VCU after 12 years at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., where he was professor and vice chair for research in the pediatrics department, professor of physiology and pharmacology and professor of biomedical engineering with the Virginia Tech-Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences.

Dr. Rubin is a pediatric pulmonary expert and was the recipient of a number of honors, including the 2008 Forrest M. Bird Lifetime Scientific Achievement Award, a top research honor given by the American Respiratory Care Foundation and the American Association of Respiratory Care. He is on the editorial board of 12 pulmonary journals, has published more than 200 research papers and chapters and holds five patents. He is listed in Who?s Who in Science and Engineering and Best Doctors in America.

Dr. Rubin?s specific clinical and research interests include cystic fibrosis, childhood asthma and other chronic lung diseases. Dr. Rubin and his research team study aerosol therapy for lung diseases, airway inflammation and excessive mucus that contributes to lung disease.

Prior to joining the Wake Forest University faculty, Dr. Rubin was a professor and clinician at St. Louis University School of Medicine; at the University of Alberta, Canada, department of pediatrics; and at Queen?s University at Kingston, Ontario?s department of pediatrics.

Dr. Rubin received his undergraduate Bachelor of Science in math and physics, Master of Engineering and medical degrees from Tulane University in New Orleans. He was a Rhodes Scholar, conducting postdoctoral work in biomedical engineering at Oxford University. He also earned an MBA at Wake Forest University.

In addition, Dr. Rubin is an enthusiastic magician, with membership in the International Brotherhood of Magicians. Rubin said that, as he has done in the past, he intends to teach magic to medical school interns and residents.

Research Projects

The goblet cell as an immune effector cell in the airway

Aerosol dapsone for therapy of inflammatory airway diseases

CF nasal microbiome and effect of antibiotics delivered as nasal aerosols

Difference in inflammatory and immune response comparing nasal and bronchial epithelia in culture

Longitudinal changes in CF sputum properties, inflammation, and pulmonary function

Airway squamous metaplasia and transforming growth factor beta

Airway disease in persons with ichthyosis and potential therapies

The International plastic bronchitis registry to investigate the natural history and potential therapies for plastic bronchitis

Anticholinergic medications as potential airway immunomodulators

Aerosol therapy and the patient-device interface

Effect of nocturnal nasal humidification and flow on recovery from an exacerbation of CF airway disease

Airway Tissue Factor expression in inflammatory airway diseases

Periostin, interleukin 13, and severe asthma

Recent Publications

Rubin BK, Priftis KN, Schmidt HJ, Henke MO. Secretory hyperresponsiveness and pulmonary mucus hypersecretion. Chest 2014;146:496-507.

Rubin BK, Williams RW. Emerging aerosol drug delivery strategies: From bench to clinic. Adv Drug Deliv Rev 2014 doi: 10.1016/j.addr.2014.06.008.

Strickland SL, Rubin BK, Drescher GS, Haas CF, O'Malley CA, Volsko TA, et al. AARC clinical practice guideline: effectiveness of nonpharmacologic airway clearance therapies in hospitalized patients. Respir Care 2013;58:2187-93.

Tanabe T, Kanoh S, Moskowitz WB, Rubin BK. Cardiac asthma: transforming growth factor-beta from the failing heart leads to squamous metaplasia in human airway cells and in the murine lung. Chest 2012;142:1274-83.

Tanabe T, Rozycki HJ, Kanoh S, Rubin BK. Cardiac asthma: new insights into an old disease. Expert Rev Respir Med 2012;6:705-14.

Tanabe T, Shimokawaji T, Kanoh S, Rubin BK. IL-33 stimulates CXCL8/IL-8 secretion in goblet cells but not normally differentiated airway cells. Clin Exp Allergy 2014;44:540-52.

Teves ME, Zhang Z, Costanzo RM, Henderson SC, Corwin FD, Zweit J, Sundaresan G, Subler M, Salloum FN, Rubin BK, Strauss JF 3rd. Sperm-associated antigen-17 gene is essential for motile cilia function and neonatal survival. Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol 2013;48:765-72.

Tokita E, Tanabe T, Asano K, Suzaki H, Rubin BK. Club cell 10-kDa protein attenuates airway mucus hypersecretion and inflammation. Eur Respir J 2014 pii: erj00809-2013.

Nicola ML, Carvalho HB, Yoshida CT, Anjos FM, Nakao M, Santos Ude P, Cardozo KH, Carvalho VM, Pinto E, Farsky SH, Saldiva PH, Rubin BK, Nakagawa NK. Young "healthy" smokers have functional and inflammatory changes in the nasal and the lower airways. Chest. 2014;145:998-1005.

McNamara DG, Asher MI, Rubin BK, Stewart A, Byrnes CA. Heated humidification improves clinical outcomes, compared to a heat and moisture exchanger in children with tracheostomies. Respir Care. 2014;59:46-53.

Dodson KM, Cohen RS, Rubin BK . Middle ear fluid characteristics in pediatric otitis media with effusion. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2012;76:1806-09.

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