Virginia Tech® home

Jenny Munson, Ph.D.

Jenny M. Munson, Ph.D.


Jenny Munston, Ph.D. portrait

“We believe that fluid flow and fluid drainage through a tumor can alter how a tumor responds to drugs. By studying cancer in a new context, hopefully we can identify drugs that haven’t been identified yet, new reasons why cancer does what it does.”


Tracking fluid flow to understand cancer, aging and women’s health

How does the pace of fluid flow affect tumor spread and memory loss?

In the Munson Lab, we study the tumor microenvironment in cancers, including glioblastoma, the deadliest form of brain cancer. Our research focuses on the emerging research area of fluid flow. Cancer’s invasion of the brain follows distinctive routes that correlate with interstitial and bulk flow pathways. In brain cancer, fluid flow increases between cells within the tissue, specifically across the invasive edge of the tumor where cells are prone to both interact with the surrounding brain tissue and to evade localized, transport-limited therapies. We believe fluid flow can alter how a tumor responds to drug therapies. Not only is fluid flow important in cancer, but also is a contributor to normal function in tissues and other diseases. To this end, we are translating many of our methods and hypotheses to understand the role of fluid flow in immunity, aging, and women's health.

Our methods 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 to test hypotheses related to fluid and tissue transport in tumors and the brain and to identify new drug targets and treatment approaches. 

Our goal is to find new targets in the tissue microenvironment by examining cancer and disease in the proper context, which includes dynamic fluid flows, multiple cell types, and patient-specific parameterization. By including the proper tissue environment, we believe that we can better identify underlying causes and contributors to disease and thus be better able to target and test new drugs for patients.

  • Associate Professor, Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC
  • Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, College of Engineering
  • Co-Director, Virginia Tech Cancer Research Alliance

Colleen T. Curley, Brian P. Mead, Karina Negron , Namho Kim, William J. Garrison, G. Wilson Miller, Kathryn M. Kingsmore, E. Andrew Thim, Ji Song, Jennifer M. Munson, Alexander L. Klibanov, Jung Soo Suk, Justin Hanes, Richard J. Price. (2020). Augmentation of brain tumor interstitial flow via focused ultrasound promotes brain-penetrating nanoparticle dispersion and transfection. Science Advances. 

R. Chase Cornelison, Caroline E. Brennan, Kathryn M. Kingsmore & Jennifer M. Munson. (2018). Convective forces increase CXCR4-dependent glioblastoma cell invasion in GL261 murine model. Scientific Reports.

Kathryn M. Kingsmore, Andrea Vaccar, Daniel Abler, Sophia X. Cui, Frederick H. Epstein, Russell C. Rockne, Scott T. Acton, and Jennifer M. Munson. (2018). MRI analysis to map interstitial flow in the brain tumor microenvironment. APL Bioengineering.

Virginia Tech
Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, College of Engineering
Institute for Critical and Applied Science, Virginia Tech
Center for Engineered Health, Virginia Tech

University of Virginia
Assistant Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering, School of Medicine, School of Engineering and Applied Science

Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (EPFL)
Postdoctoral Associate
Whitaker International Postdoctoral Fellowship, Whitaker Foundation

  • Ph.D., Georgia Tech, Bioengineering
  • B.S., Tulane University, Chemical Engineering and Neuroscience
  • Dean's Excellence Seminar Speaker, Cornell University, 2019 
  • Leader in Research, Department of Biomedical Engineering & Mechanics, 2019 
  • Dean's Award Outstanding New Assistant Professor, College of Engineering, Virginia Tech, 2019
  • Young Innovator Award, Journal of Cellular and Molecular Bioengineering, 2017
  • Rita Schaffer Young Investigator Award, Biomedical Engineering Society, 2016
  • Whitaker International Scholar, Whitaker Foundation, 2011
  • Fulbright Scholar, U.S. Department of State, 2009
  • National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation, 2007


News about Jenny Munson, Ph.D.  


Recent Media Coverage 

Related Videos

Loading player for