Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 59-74

First online:

Nanotechnology for Cell–Substrate Interactions

  • Nathan J. SniadeckiAffiliated withDepartment of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania
  • , Ravi A. DesaiAffiliated withDepartment of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania
  • , Sami Alom RuizAffiliated withDepartment of Bioengineering, University of PennsylvaniaDepartment of Biomedical Engineering, Johns Hopkins University
  • , Christopher S. ChenAffiliated withDepartment of Bioengineering, University of Pennsylvania Email author 

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In the pursuit to understand the interaction between cells and their underlying substrates, the life sciences are beginning to incorporate micro- and nanotechnology-based tools to probe and measure cells. The development of these tools portends endless possibilities for new insights into the fundamental relationships between cells and their surrounding microenvironment that underlie the physiology of human tissue. Here, we review techniques and tools that have been used to study how a cell responds to the physical factors in its environment. We also discuss unanswered questions that could be addressed by these approaches to better elucidate the molecular processes and mechanical forces that dominate the interactions between cells and their physical scaffolds.


Cell mechanics Cell shape Extracellular Matrix Focal Adhesions Integrins Mechanotransduction Micropatterning Nanotopology Self-Assembled Monolayers (SAMs) Traction Forces