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The Laboratory for Living Systems Engineering is an interdisciplinary group within the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California. Our goal is to understand mechanisms of development and disease on the cell and tissue level using microfabrication, biomaterials, cell biology, and imaging techniques. A major focus of ours is understanding how biomechanical forces, such as matrix stiffness or cytoskeletal tension, regulate the structural and functional phenotype of striated muscle cells and tissues. We are also interested in engineering micro-scale mimics of human tissues, known as “Organs on Chips,” that have applications for screening drug toxicity and efficacy. By combining our tissue engineering tools with patient-specific stem cell-derived muscle cells, our platforms can also be used to investigate mechanisms of genetic diseases and screen therapeutics on a patient-by-patient basis.