Loyola University Chicago



Muna Aryal, PhD

Title/s:  Assistant Professor

Office #:  124C CFSU

Phone: 773.508.8711



Dr. Muna Aryal, an Assistant Professor of Engineering at Loyola University Chicago,holds a joint appointment with Stritch School of Medicine, Department of Radiation Oncology, Division of Medical Physics within the Health Science Campus.  Her research lab is in Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center at Maywood. Her research centered on developing drug delivery tools using focused ultrasound and nanobiotechnology and tailoring their use for noninvasive and targeted brain imaging and therapy.  Dr. Aryal received her undergraduate degree in Physics and Mathematics from Tribhuvan University, Nepal in 2006and her Ph.D. in Physics from Boston College, the USA in 2014.  She worked as a postdoctoral research fellow in Dr. Nathan McDannold's lab in the Radiology Department at Brigham and Women's Hospital at Harvard Medical Schook, where she performed most of her Ph.D. thesis work, before joining Stanford in 2016.  During her time in Dr. McDannold's lab, she discovered a noninvasive and targeted brain tumor treatment method using ultrasound-mediated blood-brain opening (BBBO).  Next, she reimplemented Dynamic Contrast-Enhanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging and pharmacokinetic models to non-invasively predict drug concentration that was delivered via ultrasound-based BBBO method.  Last, she advanced Magnetic Resonance imaging and nanoparticle technologies to assist ultrasound-mediated brain drug delivery by designing in liposome-based magnetic nanoparticle.


Her second postdoctoral experience was from Dr. Raag Airan's Lab in the Radiology Department at Stanford University where she received a training grant (T32-NIH) from the Stanford Cancer Imaging Training program.  During her stay at Stanford from 2016 to 2020, Dr. Aryal developed precise neuromodulation and neuroimaging tools using ultrasound-mediated drug uncaging.  Additionally, she invented a novel ultrasound method to improve intrathecal drug delivery efficacy.  Before joining Loyola University Chicago, she worked a a research associate in Dr. Tyrone Porter's lab in the Biomedical Engineering Department at the University of Texas at Austin.  In addition to her research, Dr. Aryal was heavily involved in teaching and mentoring students at different levels such as high school, undergraduate, graduate and medical residents for their academic degrees.  Her passion is to bridge the gap between Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and to provide a foundation for students who are building their careers on multidisciplianary applications of STEM.

Research Interests

Dr. Aryal's research vision is to make ultrasound-based drug delivery tools as personalized medicine for brain imaging and therapy.  For instance, current limitations in translating focused ultrasound-based drug delivery techniques for the brain into the clinic lack an effective way to plan, monitor and evaluate their efficacy in personalized manner.  So, her research projects focus on the developmenjt of novel imaging techniques that guide the drug delivery procedure with high precision, monitor in real-time, and evaluate its efficacy noninvasively to permit personalized therapy.  Dr. Aryal's lab effort is to understand how ultrasound effects drug distribution, retenting, clearance and it consequences on the neuroimmune system.  So going forward, her lab will use ultrasound a a drug delivery tool and develope new imaging and therapeutic techniques for basic, applied and translational research.

Dr. Aryal' research program focuses on

1.  Noninvasive and targeted brain drug delivery technologies:  focused ultrasound, neuro-nanomedicine

2.  Applications:  Noninvasive and targeted therapy for neurological diseases and disorders i.e., cancer, neuromodulation and Alzheimer, molecular imaging

3.  Biophysics-biomechanism:  Basic understanding of ultrasound interaction with molecules and cells, neuronal connectivity, glymphatic pathway clearance

Selected Publications

1.  Aryal M. Papadematriou J, Zhang Y, Power C, McDannold N. Porter T. MRI monitoring and quantification of ultrasound-mediated delivery of liposomes dually labeled with       gadolinium and fluorophore through the blood-brain barrier.  Ultrasound Med Biol. 2019; 45(7):1733-1742.  dio: 10.1016/j.ultrasmedbio.2019.02.024

2.  Aryal* M, Wang* JB, Zhong Q, Vyas D, Airan RD.  Noninvasive ultrasonic drug uncaging maps whole-brain functional networks.  Neuron.  2018; 100(3):728-738.e7.doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2018.10.042, *equally contributed

3.  Aryal M, Fischer K, Gentile C, Gitto S, Zhang YZ, McDannold N. Effects on P-Glycoprotein Expression after Blood-Brain Barrier Disruption Using FUS and Microbubbles, PLoS One. 2017; 2(1): e0166061.doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0166061

4.  Aryal M, Park J, Vykhodtseva N, Zhang YS, McDannold N. Enhancement in blood-tumor barrier permeability and delviery of liposomal doxorubicin using focused ultrasound and microbubbles;evaluation during tumor progression in a rat glioma model.  Phys Med Biol. 2015; 60(6):2511-27.doi: 10.1088/0031-9155/60/6/2511

5.  Aryal M, Vykhodtseva N, Zhang YZ, Park J, McDannold N. Multiple treatments with liposomal doxorubicin and ultrasound-induced disruption of blood-tumor and blood-brain barriers improve outcomes in a rat glioma model. J Control Release. 2013; 169(1-2):103 doi: 10.1016/j.jconrel.2013.04.007