Currently, the paramount problem in the field of biomaterials, the science of replacing diseased tissue with human-made implants, is control over the interface, or surface, between implanted biomaterials and living tissues. The physical properties of most tissues can be matched by careful selection of raw materials: metals, ceramics, or several varieties of polymer materials. Even the requirement that biomaterials processed from these materials be nontoxic to host tissue can be met by techniques derived from studying the reactions of tissue cultures to biomaterials or from short-term implants. But achieving necessary matches in physical properties across interfaces between living and non-living matter requires knowledge of which molecules control the bonding of cells to each other – an area that we have not yet explored thoroughly. Although recent research has allowed us to stabilize the tissue-biomaterial interface by controlling either the chemical reactions or the microstructure of the biomaterials, our fundamental understanding of how implant devices adhere to tissues remains woefully incomplete.