Of the many external factors that affect cell behavior, mechanical cues have been found to be fundamental in modulating a cell’s phenotype. Indeed, merely changing substrate stiffness in monolayer culture systems generates drastically different phenotypes in adult stem cells. As musculoskeletal tissues are both routinely subjected and highly sensitive to mechanical cues, studying the effect of substrate properties on cellular behavior takes on a more complex angle when looked at in 3D, as is the case in vivo. This project will therefore focus on (1) Defining the mechanical properties of a range of biocompatible 3D gels and (2) attempt to correlate that information with cellular mechanotransduction, precisely looking at matrix deposition and gene expression modulation in gel-encapsulated cells.