Lara's current research involves the development of techniques for improved analysis of the biomolecule-surface interfaces (for example nanoparticles) as well as improved chemical imaging of biologically relevant samples. Imaging secondary ion mass spectrometry is a surface characterization technique that can provide molecular information with sub-micron resolution. Utilizing the newer cluster ion sources allows us to get 3-D images of cells and tissues as well. The ability to get sub-cellular images of cell and tissues with chemical and molecular specificity would open up a range of possibilities for better understanding and diagnosing biological processes such as tumor microenvironments, lipid metabolomics relationship to cancer, tissue repair, and chemical analysis of tissue and/or cells on a cellular and sub-cellular level. Lara's research also involves development of the sample preparation, technique development, data processing, and data analysis is critical to make this technology more applicable to the biological/medical community.