The goal of the Darling lab is to understand the relationship between the biological function of cells and tissues and their micro/nano-scale mechanical properties. We investigate these characteristics via atomic force microscopy, a technique that allows high resolution imaging and force measurements. Recent findings suggest that cells exhibit distinct mechanical biomarkers, which could help identify specific cell types within heterogeneous populations (i.e. metastatic cancer cells, stem cells). We are striving to identify and purify better source populations of cells for regenerative therapies.