Abstract: Human embryonic stem cells can grow indefinitely in culture and generate all parts of the human body. Therefore, these remarkably plastic cells are termed “pluripotent” and represent attractive resources for tissue engineering and human disease modeling. Making these cells in a standardized and predictable manner however has been problematic, because the methods to derive and propagate these cells are either poorly understood or difficult to scale-up. Through two projects, I will describe engineering approaches to 1) identify key parameters that control the kinetics of a new technique of deriving pluripotent stem cells and 2) develop new polymeric materials that can efficiently propagate them. The first project describes stochastic transitions involved in progressing to a pluripotent state through epigenetic reprogramming, and the second project details biomolecules involved in the clonal growth of human cells in a pluripotent state. These modeling and materials engineering frameworks open up opportunities to readily grow sufficient quantities of clinically-grade, standardized human pluripotent cells from routine biopsies or blood samples, ultimately providing a foundation for more active, regenerative, and personalized therapy.