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The advancement of molecular biology has introduced new concepts in medical treatment, such as gene therapy and molecular targeted drugs. Recently, interest has been growing in mechanobiology, which focuses on the role of physical force in biological processes. The sensory organs, including touch and hearing, provide familiar examples of this concept from our daily life. David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian were awarded a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2021 for their work on the identification of transducing molecules.1  However, recent mechanobiological research has elucidated the involvement of physical forces more broadly in nonsensory cells and has identified various mechanosensory machineries in different scales. The understanding of mechanobiological mechanisms may provide another, new paradigm in medicine; therefore, it is crucial to develop new methodologies, distinct from those of conventional molecular biology, to manipulate and analyze this invisible entity.

Engineered materials are promising tools in mechanobiology research because of their interaction with forces and transmission of force within them. Considering the substantial advances in the field of material-based mechanobiology in the last two decades, we organized three international symposia on nanoarchitectonics for mechanobiology, in 2015, 2016, and 2019,2–4  in order to further encourage collaboration between the fields of mechanobiology and materials research. Furthermore, we also received an invitation from the Royal Society of Chemistry to write a book on material-based mechanobiology, which provided the motivation for this edition.

This book is composed of 14 chapters written by promising researchers who are investigating various aspects of mechanobiology, such as the manipulation of mechanical properties or multiscaled structures of materials and the development of dynamic or smart materials. We express our deepest gratitude to all the authors and hope that this book will inspire readers to enrich this new discipline through their imagination and creativity.

Last, but not the least, we would like to acknowledge Michelle, Connor, and Amina for their tremendous support during the production of this edition. We received the invitation to write the book in 2019, shortly before the COVID-19 outbreak that caused an unexpected delay in the publication of the book. We are grateful for their continuous support and patience.

Jun Nakanishi and Koichiro Uto

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