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Biophysical signals act as potent regulators of stem cell function, lineage commitment, and epigenetic status. In recent years, synthetic biomaterials have been used to study a wide range of outside-in signaling events, and it is now well appreciated that material cues modulate the epigenome. Here, we review the role of extracellular signals in guiding stem cell behavior via epigenetic regulation, and we stress the role of physicochemical material properties as an often-overlooked modulator of intracellular signaling. We also highlight promising new research tools for ongoing interrogation of the stem cell-material interface.

Original publication




Journal article


Cell Stem Cell

Publication Date





39 - 52


Animals, Biocompatible Materials, Cell Lineage, Cell Nucleus, Cell Shape, Chromatin, Epigenesis, Genetic, Humans, Materials Testing, Microscopy, Atomic Force, Regeneration, Signal Transduction, Spectrum Analysis, Raman, Stem Cells