While stem cells hold great potential for use in tissue repair, challenges to implementation include difficulty in producing a single cell type of interest, such as osteocytes, without off-target differentiation to related cell types. Tissues such as bone also have highly organized three-dimensional architecture that influences cellular properties and must be addressed in engineering constructs for study or injury repair. In addition, procedures requiring weeks to months for stem cell differentiation are difficult and expensive to implement for cell therapy products. In an interdisciplinary collaboration, biomedical engineer Mariah Hahn and stem cell biologist Brigitte Arduini sought to address each of these obstacles. The study, published in the Journal of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine, establishes proof-of-concept for the utility of expression of a gene called FOXD3 to enhance efficiency of differentiation toward osteogenic cells and accelerating the timing of differentiation in 3D cell culture.