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There is a great need to develop methods to regulate cellular growth in order to enhance or prevent cell proliferation, as needed, to either improve health or prevent disease. In this work we evaluated the adhesion, survival and growth of bone marrow stromal cells on the surface of several new ion beam engineered nano-crystals of ceramic hard coatings such as zirconium, titanium, tantalum and cerium oxides. Cell adhesion and growth on the ceramic coatings were compared to adhesion and growth on a nano-crystalline silver coating which is known to possess antibacterial properties. The initial results of a study to determine the effect of nanocrystalline titanium and silver coating on staphylococcus aureus biofilm growth is also discussed.