Using finite element modeling, the spatial and temporal mechanical response of the extracellular matrix have been described under a variety of mechanical loading configurations. In other studies, a linear biphasic finite element model has been used to describe the mechanical response of the tissue including structurally distinct inclusions such as chondrocytes. In this manner, the effects of various morphological characteristics, such as cell shape or intercellular spacing, can be parametrically examined. Using confocal microscopy, three-dimensional changes in cell shape and volume were measured during compression of the matrix. Using finite element optimization methods, the theoretical predictions of cell shape and experimental measurements from confocal microscopy can be combined in order to determine the intrinsic material properties of the chondrocyte.