Dr. Kristina M. Ropella

Dr. Kristina (Kris) Ropella, Eng '85, is Opus Dean of the Opus College of Engineering and professor of biomedical engineering at Marquette University. She joined the biomedical engineering faculty in 1990 and served as department chair from 2004 to 2013, when she was named executive associate dean. In 2015, Ropella was named Opus Dean. In this leadership role, she provides vision and leads strategic planning and implementation, creation of academic programs, engagement with industry, government and other academic institutions, fundraising, and community outreach.

Ropella’s research expertise is in bio-signal processing and medical imaging for diagnostic medical devices, with emphasis on monitoring cardiac arrhythmias and brain mapping. She has led creation of innovative educational programs, including the Joint Functional Imaging Ph.D. program with MCW, a new biocomputer engineering major, a GAANN Graduate Fellowship Program in Functional Imaging, and the Marquette and MCW Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering. Ropella founded and is faculty director of E-Lead, a three-year curricular leadership development program for undergraduate students.

Ropella was named the Wisconsin U.S. Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support for Education (2007). She received the college’s Outstanding Teacher Award (1994 and 2002) and the university’s Robert and Mary Gettel Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence (2002). Ropella received the Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 (2000) and Women of Influence (2008) awards; STEM Forward’s Engineer of the Year award (2016); the Kern Family Foundation’s Outstanding Dean award (2016); and the Imprint award from Professional Dimensions (2023).

Ropella is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE). She is a past board member of AIMBE, the Biomedical Engineering Society, the Council of Chairs in Biomedical Engineering, and the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. Ropella currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Medical College of Wisconsin, the Board of Directors at Milwaukee’s St. Augustine Prep, Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, and the Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee.

Ropella received her bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Marquette University and earned her master’s and doctoral degrees in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University.