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Human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) have previously been cultured on three dimensional (3D) biodegradable polymer scaffolds. Although complex structures were formed from the hESCs, very little is known about the mechanism of adhesion of these cells to the surfaces of the scaffolds. In this study, we achieved the efficient adhesion of pluripotent hESCs to 3D poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) (PLGA) scaffolds based on our data from a novel two dimensional (2D) model that imitates the surface properties of the scaffolds. In the 2D model, single cell preparations of pluripotent hESCs adhered efficiently and predominantly to PLGA surfaces coated with laminin in comparison to collagen I, collagen IV, or fibronectin-coated surfaces. Flow cytometry analysis revealed that almost all of the pluripotent single cells expressed the integrin 6, with a small percentage also expressing 3ß1, which facilitates adhesion to laminin. This data was then translated into the 3D environment, with the efficient binding of single pluripotent hESCs to PLGA scaffolds coated with laminin. The utility of this system was shown by the directed differentiation of single hESCs seeded within laminin-coated scaffolds toward the endoderm lineage.