Although skeletal muscle is one of the most regenerative organs in our body, various genetic defects, alterations in extrinsic signaling, or substantial tissue damage can impair muscle function and the capacity for self-repair. The diversity and complexity of muscle disorders have attracted much interest from both cell biologists and, more recently, bioengineers, leading to concentrated efforts to better understand muscle pathology and develop more efficient therapies. This review describes the biological underpinnings of muscle development, repair, and disease, and discusses recent bioengineering efforts to design and control myomimetic environments, both to study muscle biology and function and to aid in the development of new drug, cell, and gene therapies for muscle disorders. The synergy between engineering-aided biological discovery and biology-inspired engineering solutions will be the path forward for translating laboratory results into clinical practice.


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