"Bioinspired materials to direct cell behavior" - Highly regulated signals in the cell microenvironment, such as growth factor presentation and concentration, matrix stiffness, and ligand adhesion density have been implicated in modulating cell proliferation and maturation. Therefore, it is desirable to have independent control over both the biochemical and mechanical cues presented to the cell to analyze their relative and combined effects on stem cell function. Accordingly, we have developed synthetic hydrogels, novel three-dimensional filamentous matrices, and biointerfaces to assess the effects of adhesion ligand presentation, material moduli, and matrix architecture on stem cell function and fate determination. Employing these soft materials we have demonstrated that the mechanical, structural, and biochemical properties of a stem cell microenvironment can be tuned to regulate the self-renewal, differentiation, and morphological features of different stem cells including human embryonic, neural, cardiac progenitor, and mesenchymal stem cells. These bioinspired materials provide a foundation for systematic development of microenvironments that may ultimately impact regenerative therapies. Various examples from our work will be discussed during this presentation.