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A system was developed for real-time, in vivo investigation of the relationship between local cell-level nano-mechanical perturbation and cell response to chemical-physical biomaterial surface properties. The system consisted of a magnetoelastic (ME) layer that could be remotely set to vibrate, at submicron levels, at a predetermined amplitude and profile. Experiments result indicated that submicron localized vibrations coupled with tailored biomaterial surface properties could selectively control cellular adhesion and possibly guide phenotypic gene expression. Practical application of this system includes modulation and monitoring of the surface of implantable biomaterials. The ME based vibrational system is the first of its kind for use in vitro for culture based mechanical testing, which could be readily deployed in situ as an in vivo system to apply local mechanical loads. It could be applied to specific implant surface sites and then subsequently sealed prior to long-term implantation. The potential advantage of this system over other similar approaches is that the system is translatable - the functional layer can serve as a “cellular workbench” material but could also be adapted and applied to the surface of implantable biomaterials and devices.