Jennifer Munson Jennifer Munson

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering


Ph.D. Bioengineering, Georgia Institute of Technology, 2011

Department of Biomedical Engineering
University of Virginia
Box 800759
Charlottesville, VA 22908

Office: MR5 2324 Phone: 434 924-8080
Lab: MR5 2226 Phone: 434 924-5987

munson@virginia.edu

   

Research Interests

The microenvironment in which a tumor develops is as important to cancer progression and recurrence as the cancer itself. The unique environment in the brain is poorly understood as it relates to cancer development and invasion, consisting largely of cells and matrix elements that are not found in other cancer-bearing tissues. Though treatment for many cancers has advanced, efficacy of treatment in the brain has remained relatively poor for the past century. My laboratory aims to understand how the microenvironment of the brain contributes to poor efficacy of current therapies and invasive recurrence of tumors. Through the use of 3D engineered cell culture models we can assess the cellular interactions and therapeutic response of cancer in a controlled setting while recapitulating the cellular and matrix composition of the brain. Through development of imaging techniques, including MRI, CT, and microscopy, using nanoparticle contrast agents in rodent models of cancer we can image in real time therapeutic responses and changes to the tumor microenvironment. My lab is particularly interested in the contribution of biophysical forces to therapeutic response including interstitial flow and cell-mediated stiffening of the tumor matrix. We aim to use these models and tools to identify, deliver, and assess new therapeutic approaches against invasive cancer with hopes to translate this work to a clinical setting and help patients in need of new treatment options.

Key research points:

  • Engineering cell culture models to study the tumor microenvironment in the brain
  • Development of non-invasive in vivo imaging and drug delivery systems for cancers
  • Screening of compounds against cancer in engineered 3D cell culture models
  • Particular emphasis on biophysical parameters of cancer progression including interstitial flow and cell-mediated matrix stiffening

Recent Publications

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