Protein function is intimately linked to molecular conformation. We aim to trigger conformational changes in proteins through external, orthogonal inputs. Under development in our lab are molecular switches that can be used to manipulate membrane and cytoskeletal organization in cells. We envision a cascade of effects after external activation, whereby a protein's activity is turned on, which modulates a cellular property and in-turn causes macroscopic changes to the entire tissue. In so doing, we will be able to reversibly control tissue adhesion, stiffness, and permeability through protein-based switches.