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It is increasingly recognized that cell signaling, as a chemical process, must be considered at the local, micrometer scale. Micro- and nanofabrication techniques provide access to these dimensions, with the potential to capture and manipulate the spatial complexity of intracellular signaling in experimental models. This review focuses on recent advances in adapting surface engineering for use with biomolecular systems that interface with cell signaling, particularly with respect to surfaces that interact with multiple receptor systems on individual cells. The utility of this conceptual and experimental approach is demonstrated in the context of epithelial cells and T lymphocytes, two systems whose ability to perform their physiological function is dramatically impacted by the convergence and balance of multiple signaling pathways.

Original publication




Journal article


Annual review of biomedical engineering

Publication Date





305 - 326


Department of Biomedical Engineering, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027, USA.


T-Lymphocytes, Extracellular Matrix, Epithelial Cells, Immune System, Animals, Humans, Biocompatible Materials, Tissue Engineering, Cell Adhesion, Cell Communication, Signal Transduction, Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition, Spindle Apparatus