Engineering microscale topographies to control the cell-substrate interface

Mehdi Nikkhah, Faramarz Edalat, Sam Manoucheri, Ali Khademhosseini

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

533 Scopus citations


Cells in their in vivo microenvironment constantly encounter and respond to a multitude of signals. While the role of biochemical signals has long been appreciated, the importance of biophysical signals has only recently been investigated. Biophysical cues are presented in different forms including topography and mechanical stiffness imparted by the extracellular matrix and adjoining cells. Microfabrication technologies have allowed for the generation of biomaterials with microscale topographies to study the effect of biophysical cues on cellular function at the cell-substrate interface. Topographies of different geometries and with varying microscale dimensions have been used to better understand cell adhesion, migration, and differentiation at the cellular and sub-cellular scales. Furthermore, quantification of cell-generated forces has been illustrated with micropillar topographies to shed light on the process of mechanotransduction. In this review, we highlight recent advances made in these areas and how they have been utilized for neural, cardiac, and musculoskeletal tissue engineering application.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5230-5246
Number of pages17
Issue number21
StatePublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Adhesion
  • Mechanobiology
  • Microfabrication
  • Migration
  • Surface topography
  • Tissue engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Biomaterials
  • Mechanics of Materials


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