- Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program | Jennifer Munson

Jennifer Munson

Education

  • PhD, Georgia Institute of Technology
  • BS, Tulane University

Contact

Research Interest(s)

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 e

Research Description

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

Selected Publications

  • Roller B, Munson J, Brahma B, Santangelo P, Pai S, Bellamkonda R. Evans blue nanocarriers visually demarcate margins of invasive gliomas. Drug delivery and translational research. 2015;5(2): 116-24. PMID: 25787737
  • Munson J, Shieh A. Interstitial fluid flow in cancer: implications for disease progression and treatment. Cancer management and research. 2014;6 317-28. PMID: 25170280 | PMCID: PMC4144982
  • Munson J, Bonner M, Fried L, Hofmekler J, Arbiser J, Bellamkonda R. Identifying new small molecule anti-invasive compounds for glioma treatment. Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.). 2013;12(14): 2200-9. PMID: 24067366 | PMCID: PMC3755070
  • Munson J, Bellamkonda R, Swartz M. Interstitial flow in a 3D microenvironment increases glioma invasion by a CXCR4-dependent mechanism. Cancer research. 2012;73(5): 1536-46. PMID: 23271726
  • Munson J, Fried L, Rowson S, Bonner M, Karumbaiah L, Diaz B, Courtneidge S, Knaus U, Brat D, Arbiser J, Bellamkonda R. Anti-invasive adjuvant therapy with imipramine blue enhances chemotherapeutic efficacy against glioma. Science translational medicine. 2012;4(127): 127ra36. PMID: 22461640