Kristina M. Ropella

Board Member at Medical College of Wisconsin

Dr. Kristina (Kris) Ropella is Opus Dean of the Opus College of Engineering and Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Marquette University (MU). She joined the biomedical engineering faculty at Marquette in 1990 and served as chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering from 2004 to 2013, when she was named the executive associate dean for the college. In these leadership roles, Dr. Ropella has led strategic planning and implementation, creation of academic programs, engagement with industry, government and other academic institutions, fundraising, and community outreach.

Ropella is recognized internationally for her research in biosignal processing and medical imaging for diagnostic medical devices. Her early research focused on detection of abnormal heart rhythms for implantable defibrillators and ECG monitors. Currently, she is collaborating with neuroscientists and physicians at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) to develop clinical applications of functional magnetic resonance imaging. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, Department of Education, The Ralph and Marion Falk Medical Research Trust, and the Whitaker Foundation. Dr. Ropella also created and led a number of innovative educational programs, including the Joint Functional Imaging PhD program with MCW, a new biocomputer engineering major at MU, a GAANN Graduate Fellowship Program in Functional Imaging, an NSF-sponsored summer undergraduate research program, and most recently, E-Lead, an undergraduate engineering leadership curriculum. She collaborates extensively with industry to support research, educational programs, and student design projects.

Dr. 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 has twice received the college’s Outstanding Teacher Award (1994 and 2002), the university’s Robert and Mary Gettel Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence (2002). Among other honors, she was the recipient of the Milwaukee Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 (2000) and Women of Influence (2008) awards. She is a Fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering, having recently served on its board of directors. She has served on the board of directors for the Biomedical Engineering Society, the Council of Chairs in Biomedical Engineering, and the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. She has also served on external review panels for the Institute of International Education, the AAAS, the National Institutes of Health, the Coulter Foundation, and the US Professors Program.

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


  • Board Member

    Current role