Given mounting evidence that mechanical force is a critical parameter in the normal development and remodeling of load-bearing tissue, there is a critical need for a new class of bioreactors which can apply controlled loads/strains to tissues or engineered constructs while permitting high-powered optical accessibility. We have developed a novel bioreactor which can be mounted onto the stage of an inverted microscope which permits direct 600× observation of a perfused specimen while the specimen is held in either load or strain control. Further, the chamber has been designed to minimize free volume to reduce the cost of reagents.

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