This PhD research addresses the role of mechanical cues in chondrogenesis and endochondral ossification. For this purpose, custom developed bioreactors will be employed to subject human mesenchymal stem cells (hMSCs) to various mechanical stimuli, including hydrostatic pressure and dynamic compression. Thereby simulated physiological conditions of the joint will help to identify genes and proteins that stimulate or inhibit chondrogenesis and endochondral ossification. In this context, also the cytoskeleton, extracellular and pericellular matrices of hMSCs will be examined and characterized. The acquired knowledge will be used to dissect the contributing mechano-signalling pathways and ultimately identify potential therapeutic targets for better treatment of bone defects and osteoarthritis.