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Jennifer Munson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Munson Jennifer
Fralin Biomedical Research Institute
Room 1210
4 Riverside Circle
Roanoke, VA 24016


Onco-Engineering Lab

Watch this short video about the lab. All BEAM videos available here.

Research Areas

  • Fluid Mechanics
  • Neuroengineering
  • Tissue Engineering
  • Translational Cancer Research

Research Interests

We study the tumor microenvironment in brain and breast cancers.

To do this, we combine in vivo imaging methodology with in vitro tissue engineered models to examine the role of interstitial fluid flow and the cellular components of the microenvironment in cancer progression and treatment. We use patient-derived cells to create personalized models of disease and use these systems to test hypotheses related to fluid and tissue transport in tumors and the brain and to identify new drug targets and treatment approaches. In vitro, we combine tissue engineered cell culture systems with microfluidic devices to analyze cellular behavior in the tumor and surrounding tissue using flow cytometry and microscopy. In vivo, we employ a host of imaging methods and disease models to parameterize our systems and validate our measurements.

Our goal is to find new targets in the tumor microenvironment and to examine cancer and disease in the proper context to properly study outcomes such as tumor invasion, response to chemotherapy, and immunity.


  • Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne: Postdoctoral Fellow, 2011-2013
  • Georgia Tech: Ph.D., Bioengineering, 2011 
  • Tulane University: B.S., Chemical Engineering and Neuroscience, 2006 

Awards, Honors, and Service

  • Ivy Foundation Emerging Leader Award 2021
  • Chair, Diversity and Inclusion Committee (BEAM)
  • 2019: Outstanding New Assistant Professor
  • 2017: Young Innovator Award, Journal of Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering 
  • 2016: Rita Schaffer Young Investigator Award, Biomedical Engineering Society 
  • 2011: Whitaker International Scholar, Whitaker Foundation 
  • 2009: Fulbright Scholar, U.S. Department of State 
  • 2007: National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation

Recent Publications

CT Curley, BP Mead, N Kim, K Negron, GW Miller, W Garrison, KM Kingsmore, JM Munson, A Klibanov, J Soo, J Hanes, RJ Price, Blood-brain tumor barrier opening with MR image-guided focused ultrasound augments interstitial flow and facilitates nanoparticle-mediated transfection. Science Advances. 6(18): eaay1344 (2020).

KT Chatterjee, CM Esparza, JM Munson*, Measuring, manipulating and modeling fluid flow in the brain. Journal of Neuroscience Methods. 333: 108541 (2020).

JM Munson, Interstitial fluid flow under the microscope: is it a future drug target for high grade brain tumours such as glioblastoma? Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets. 23(9): 725-728 (2019). DOI: 10.1080/14728222.2019.1647167

KM Tate, JM Munson, Assessing drug response in engineered neural microenvironments. Brain Research Bulletin. 150: 21-34 (2019). DOI: 10.1016/j.brainresbull.2019.04.027

S Shim, M Balanger, AR Harris, JM Munson, RR Pompano, Two-way communication between ex vivo tissues on a microfluidic chip: application to tumor-lymph node interaction. Lab on a chip. 19, 1013-1026 (2019). DOI: 10.1039/C8LC00957K.

RC Cornelison, CE Brennan, KM Kingsmore, JM Munson, Convective forces increase CXCR4-dependent glioblastoma cell invasion in GL261 murine model. Scientific Reports, 8 17057 (2018). DOI: 10.1101/451286

S Da Mesquita, A Louveau, A Vaccari, I Smirnov, RC Cornelison, KM Kingsmore, C Contarino, S Onengut-Gumuscu, E Farber, D Raper, KE Viar, W Baker, N Dabhi, G Oliver, S Rich, JM Munson, CC Overall, ST Acton, J Kipnis, Meningeal lymphatics affect brain perfusion and underlie age-dependent cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s pathology. Nature.  (2018). COVER.

Kingsmore KM, Vaccari A, Abler D, Cui SX, Epstein FH, RC Rockne, ST Acton, JM Munson, MRI analysis to map interstitial flow in the brain tumor microenvironment. Applied physics letters: Bioengineering. 2, 031905 (2018). Doi : 10.1063/1.5023503.

JX Yuan, AR Harris, JM Munson, Assessing multiparametric drug response in tissue engineered tumor microenvironment models. Methods, 134-135:20-31 (2017). doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2017.12.010.

KM Kingsmore, DL Logsdon, BW Purow, JM Munson, Interstitial flow differentially increases patient-derived glioma stem cell invasion via CXCR4/CXCL12/CD44-mediated mechanisms. Integrative Biology. 8(12):1246-60 (2016) . DOI: 10.1039/c6ib00167j.