A rapidly growing body of literature suggests that the passive mechanical environment (i.e., the local mechanical setting and material properties) impacts the formation of multi-cellular structures and cell function, proliferation, migration, and differentiation [1]. Computational modeling and experimental studies suggest that cells grown on top of polyacrylamide (PA) gels are responsive to their pericellular mechanical environment but not to features more than several tens of microns away from the cell [2]. In contrast to cells on PA gel, cells grown on biological polymer gels (e.g. fibrin, collagen, etc.) appear to respond to their mechanical environment and can sense several hundreds of microns in distance [3].

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