The Darling Lab conducts research in cell mechanics, mesenchymal stem cell biology, and musculoskeletal tissue regeneration. Primary focus is on understanding cellular heterogeneity and its effects on both fundamental and translational applications. Central to this pursuit is the study of adult stem cells, particularly the identification of novel biological and mechanical markers indicative of cell fate and regenerative potential. Mechanical interrogation is accomplished on a single-cell basis using atomic force microscopy (AFM). On off-shoot of these efforts resulted in the invention of hyper-compliant microparticles, which are being explored as in situ force sensors, microfluidic calibration tools, and cell mimicking drug delivery vehicles. Biological experiments involve standard cell culture and tissue engineering procedures combined with the most recent molecular and biochemical technologies. We are also developing novel tools and methodologies to enhance researcher’s ability to identify cellular subpopulations. Our long-term goals are to improve the quality and consistency of stem cell sources such that any downstream application/analysis produces improved results. 

Focus areas:

  • Regenerative medicine/tissue engineering
  • Mechanobiology
  • Stem cell biology and applications
  • Musculoskeletal systems 

Not pictured: Ryan Dubay, Clara Tandar