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This unique introductory text explains cell functions using the engineering principles of robust devices. Adopting a process-based approach to understanding cell and tissue biology, it describes the molecular and mechanical features that enable the cell to be robust in operating its various components, and explores the ways in which molecular modules respond to environmental signals to execute complex functions. The design and operation of a variety of complex functions are covered, including engineering lipid bilayers to provide fluid boundaries and mechanical controls, adjusting cell shape and forces with dynamic filament networks, and DNA packaging for information retrieval and propagation. Numerous problems, case studies and application examples help readers connect theory with practice, and solutions for instructors and videos of lectures accompany the book online. Assuming only basic mathematical knowledge, this is an invaluable resource for graduate and senior undergraduate students taking single-semester courses in cell mechanics, biophysics and cell biology.