Experimental studies where cells are seeded on micropost arrays in order to quantify their contractile behavior are becoming increasingly common. Interpretation of the data generated by this experimental technique is difficult, due to the complexity of the processes underlying cellular contractility and mechanotransduction. In the current study, a coupled framework that considers strain rate dependent contractility and remodeling of the cytoskeleton is used in tandem with a thermodynamic model of tension dependent focal adhesion formation to investigate the biomechanical response of cells adhered to micropost arrays. Computational investigations of the following experimental studies are presented: cell behavior on different sized arrays with a range of post stiffness; stress fiber and focal adhesion formation in irregularly shaped cells; the response of cells to deformations applied locally to individual posts; and the response of cells to equibiaxial stretching of micropost arrays. The predicted stress fiber and focal adhesion distributions; in addition to the predicted post tractions are quantitatively and qualitatively supported by previously published experimental data. The computational models presented in this study thus provide a framework for the design and interpretation of experimental micropost studies.

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