We report the use of micromolded elastomeric micropost arrays to modulate substrate rigidity independently of effects on adhesive and other material surface properties. We demonstrate that micropost rigidity impacts cell morphology, focal adhesions, cytoskeletal contractility, and stem cell differentiation. Furthermore, these micropost arrays reveal that changes in cytoskeletal contractility can precede stem cell differentiation and be utilized as a non-destructive predictor for fate decisions at the single cell level.

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