This proposal combines the techniques and approaches of several disciplines, including mechanics, polymer physics, and molecular biology, to study the role of elastin in the arterial wall. Arteries are complex heterogenous structures with profound ability to remodel in response to biochemical and mechanical stimuli. Since arterial diseases like atherosclerosis and aneurysms directly correlate with changes in the amounts of elastin in the vessel wall, it is important to characterize the mechanical properties of arteries with varying amounts of elastin. The project aims to hierarchically link tissue microstructure and biochemical composition of arterial walls to their emergent mechanical behavior. A primary goal of this work is to study the effect of constituents on the structural properties of vessels. The mechanical tests will be used to assess the effects of a changed tissue microstructure on its overall constitutive behavior. In order to link changes in mechanical behavior with alterations in tissue microstructure, structural relationships will be characterized using biochemical methods. The results of this study have broad applicability to vascular mechanics and clinical treatments for arterial diseases.