Legacy Research Institute

Transforming medical care through science, technology, and innovation.

Carmen Rusinaru, MD, PhD

Carmen Rusinaru, M.D., Ph.D.

Senior Scientist
Legacy Research Institute

Email: crusinar@lhs.org

Peer reviewed publications
ResearchGate profile
ORCID iD iconhttps://orcid.org/0000-0002-1057-4302

Short Bio:

Dr. Carmen Rusinaru is a Senior Scientist at the Legacy Research Institute investigating the neuroplasticity and neurogenesis processes in neurological diseases and injuries. Currently, she is exploring the beneficial effects of music intervention in acquired brain injury, neurorehabilitation and mental health. Additionally, she directed the acquisition, storage and distribution of biospecimens within the Legacy Tumor Bank.

Before joining the Legacy Research Institute, Dr. Rusinaru was a Research Scientist at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles, and an Epidemiologist for the Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study. Dr. Rusinaru received an M.D. from University of Medicine and Pharmacy, Romania; Ph.D. in Nutrition Science from Auburn University, Alabama, and Graduate Certificate in Clinical Research from Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine, Oregon. Among her awards are the 3CPR Max Harry Weil Award in Resuscitation Science; the American Heart Association-Philips Healthcare Resuscitation Fellowship; the New Investigator Award International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids.

Publication Highlights:

Race, ethnicity, and the risk of sudden death
Reinier K, Rusinaru C, Chugh SS.
Review Trends Cardiovasc Med. 2019 Feb;29(2):120-126.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30029848/

Factors associated with pulseless electric activity versus ventricular fibrillation: the Oregon sudden unexpected death study.
Teodorescu C, Reinier K, Dervan C, Uy-Evanado A, Samara M, Mariani R, Gunson K, Jui J, Chugh SS.
Circulation. 2010 Nov 23;122(21):2116-22.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21060069/

Antipsychotic drugs are associated with pulseless electrical activity: the Oregon Sudden Unexpected Death Study.
Teodorescu C, Reinier K, Uy-Evanado A, Chugh H, Gunson K, Jui J, Chugh SS.
Heart Rhythm. 2013 Apr;10(4):526-30.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23220685/

Health Insurance Expansion and Incidence of Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest: A Pilot Study in a US Metropolitan Community.
Stecker EC, Reinier K, Rusinaru C, Uy-Evanado A, Jui J, Chugh SS.
J Am Heart Assoc. 2017 Jun 28;6(7):e005667.
https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28659263/

Research Interests:

  • Neurorehabilitation and neuroplasticity
  • Risk prediction and preventive medicine
  • Cardiovascular disease and arrhythmias
  • Community-based research
  • Nutrition and healthy lifespan research

Research Focus:

Dr. Rusinaru has been working for 28 years in medical research with the goal of promoting health, preventing disease and improving recovery and has over 15 years of experience in community-based research and public health investigation.

Currently, Dr. Rusinaru and Dr. Frascella are leading the Music and Health program. Building on a growing literature showing the powerful effects of music on brain and behavior, they are exploring the effects and mechanisms of music in medicine. The goal of this program is to establish music as an important therapeutic and rehabilitative intervention that can be applied in various medical conditions such as traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological disorders, as well as, mental health and addiction. Dr. Rusinaru is conducting clinical studies to evaluate the effects of music and music therapy on patients affected by these conditions. She is also investigating the hypothesis that music stimulates a cascade of neurobehavioral events and may induce brain plasticity by studying how music therapy might stimulate new brain circuits, and how it might reactivate nonfunctioning pathways damaged by disease.

Dr. Rusinaru’s past research interests were at the intersection of public health and sudden death, including an evaluation of the role of social factors such as socioeconomic status in sudden cardiac arrest, racial and ethnic differences in the risk factors for sudden cardiac arrest, as well as improvement of risk prediction for sudden death in the population. She used translational approaches to identify novel determinants of sudden cardiac arrest, with the overall goal of enhancing risk stratification for cardiovascular disease, arrhythmia, obesity and hyperlipidemia in the general population. A further exploration of sudden cardiac death determinants was the role of depolarization and repolarization markers in predicting sudden death among cases and matched controls from the community. Additionally, she investigated the risk factors and mechanisms associated with presenting arrhythmia at the time of cardiac arrest, such as ventricular fibrillation and pulseless electrical activity in multiple US communities. During her doctoral studies, she investigated the role of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA) in cardiovascular disease, as well as the interplay between the negative effects of the environmental toxicant, methylmercury, and the beneficial effects of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFA). Prior to that, she examined the mechanisms and therapeutic approaches in lung cancer, burns, diabetes melitus and hepatic diseases.