Every cell in the human body, regardless of its type, is exposed to mechanical stimuli. These mechanical stimuli can take many forms: Muscle contractions cause stretch in the surrounding tissue, blood flow causes shear stress on cells at the surface of blood vessels, and the mechanical stiffness of tissue has fundamental effects on the proper functioning of cells within that tissue. Cells can directly sense mechanical stresses, deformations, and the stiffness of their environment. Cellular mechanosensors are for example integrins, which are transmembrane proteins that form physical links with the surrounding matrix, and stretch-activated ion channels in the cell membrane. Through complex intracellular mechanochemical signal transduction pathways, mechanical stimuli are transmitted and processed by the cell, leading to a large range of responses at the cellular or tissue level. These responses can be rapid, short-term, and physiological, such as in the form of altered cell shape or migration. However, in the case of longterm abnormal mechanical stimuli, cellular adaptation can also lead to pathological consequences. For example, increased fluid shear stress in blood vessels can lead to tissue inflammation and arteriosclerosis. Numerous seemingly unrelated diseases can be attributed to altered or impaired cellular mechanotransduction, including various muscular dystrophies, polycystic kidney disease, and some forms of hearing loss. Often, these diseases can be attributed to genetic mutations of individual structural components of mechanotransduction, such as intermediate filaments of the cellular cytoskeleton (for example, mutations of the protein desmin in muscle tissue), or in proteins that connect the cytoskeleton to the nucleus (for example, mutations in lamins in the nuclear lamina). It is therefore not surprising that mechanical properties and mechanotransduction of cells have increasingly become a focus in basic and clinical research. The study of cellular mechanotransduction requires appropriate in vitro cell culture methods. Classically, two-dimensional cell cultures, e.g. in Petri dishes, are used for this purpose, which allow for controlled laboratory conditions with relatively high experimental throughput, but only reflect to a limited extent the complex geometric environment to which cells are exposed in vivo. A current research trend is therefore to use three-dimensional cell culture, whereby cells grow in a native or synthetic extracellular matrix. For this, methods and devices are needed to apply mechanical stimuli on cells. A simple approach here is to seed cells on substrates with controlled stiffness in order to mimic varied tissue mechanics. This can be easily achieved, for example, with polydimethylsiloxane, a biocompatible silicone-like gel with adaptable Young's modulus. Mechanical strain, on the other hand, can be applied by cell stretchers, which are devices that can deform flexible cell substrates in a controlled manner in one or more directions. Finally, methods and devices are needed to characterize the mechanical properties of cells. For this purpose, there are contact-based methods, such as indenters, which are used to investigate the relationship between applied stress and resulting cell strain (or the other way around), as well as contactless methods, such as optical or magnetic tweezers, in which the application of deformation (or force) is achieved by electromagnetic field gradients. In order to interpret the results obtained by such methods, models are needed that explain the mechanical, in particular the viscoelastic, properties of cells dominated by the cytoskeleton. In the following cumulative dissertation, I will first provide an overview of the current state of research regarding mechanical stimuli on cells, the cellular mechanosensors and mechanisms of cellular mechanotransduction, their impairment in disease, as well as the mechanical properties of cells. I will then focus on the methods and devices that can be used to investigate the resulting questions in a laboratory context. During my review I will give concrete examples which are mostly taken from a series of reports that I published during the time of my doctorate. A selection of five of my first-author papers are attached in full to this dissertation.