Cells use mechanical forces as a means to probe and examine the physical properties of their microenvironment. They use this physical information to adapt their structure and regulate their migration, growth, and development. Using nanotechnology and microfabrication is a novel way to build measurement tools for quantitative studies into the role that mechanical forces have in cellular biology. Here, I describe our recent approaches using microposts, nanoposts, and magnetic microposts to reveal that how cells respond to external mechanical forces can be a key controller of cytoskeletal tension.

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