Cells can sense the stiffness of their substrate and respond through mechanotransduction pathways that lead to changes in cell contractility1. Studies to measure the mechanical response of cells have been primarily performed on passive substrates that do not change stiffness as a cell matures. This paper presents a novel substrate that has local regions of higher stiffness. In the current setup, polymer microposts are stiffened with nickel nanowires in random locations. An experiment was run with cells seeded onto the posts which resulted in a promising trend of an increase in cell force per post as the percentage of stiff posts seen by the cell increased.

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