Kristina M. Ropella, Ph.D.

Kristina Ropella
Kristina M. Ropella, Ph.D.Marquette University

Olin Engineering, 201

MilwaukeeWI53201United States of America
(414) 288-5460
Curriculum Vitae

Opus Dean

Dr. Kristina (Kris) Ropella is Opus Dean of the Opus College of Engineering and professor of biomedical engineering.  She joined the biomedical engineering faculty at Marquette in 1990 and served as department chair from 2004 to 2013, when she was named the executive associate dean.   In 2015, Ropella assumed the role of Opus Dean, providing vision and leading 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 biosignal processing and medical imaging for diagnostic medical devices, with emphasis on monitoring of cardiac arrhythmias and brain mapping.  She led creation of innovative educational programs, including the Joint Functional Imaging Ph.D. program with MCW, a new biocomputer engineering major at Marquette, a GAANN Graduate Fellowship Program in Functional Imaging, and the Marquette and MCW Joint Department of Biomedical Engineering. She is founder and faculty director of Excellence in Leadership (E-Lead), a three-year curricular leadership development program for undergraduate students across the disciplines at Marquette. 

Ropella was named 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 twice (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); and 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 has served on the board of directors for AIMBE, the Biomedical Engineering Society, Council of Chairs in Biomedical Engineering, and IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society. She currently serves on the Board of Trustees for the Medical College of Wisconsin, the Board of Directors at St. Augustine Prep, the Governance Board for Milwaukee Cristo Rey Jesuit High School, the Board of Directors for the Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee (HPGM), and advisory boards for the George Washington University Biomedical Engineering Department, the PATHS-UP ERC at Texas A&M, and the MKE Fellows.

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


B.S. Biomedical Engineering, Marquette University

M.S. Biomedical Engineering, Northwestern University

Ph.D. Biomedical Engineering, Northwestern University

Research Interests

  • Signal processing
  • Cardiac electrophysiology
  • Functional magnetic resonance imaging


Yan, M, Ward, BD, Ropella KM, DeYoe, EA. "Comparison of Randomized Multifocal Mapping and Temporal Phase Mapping of Visual Cortex for Clinical Use," NeuroImage: Clinical, pp. 143-154, 2013. DOI information: 10.1016/j.nicl.2013.08.004

Vizuete JA, Pillay S, Diba K, Ropella KM, Hudetz, AG "Monosynaptic functional connectivity in cerebral cortex during wakefulness and under graded levels of anesthesia," Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, 6:90, 2013. 

Vizuete JA , Pillay S, McCallum JB, Ropella KM, Hudetz AG "Cross-correlogram analysis reveals state-dependent neuronal connectivity in the rat cerebral cortex,"British Journal of Anaesthesia, 108(2): 365P-366, 2012. 

Fijalkowksi, RJ, Ropella, KM, Stemper BD "Determination of Low-Pass Filter Cutoff Frequencies for High-Rate Biomechanical Signals Obtained Using Videographic Analysis," Journal of Biomechanical Engineering, 131:054502, 2009. PMID 19388786

Imas OA, Ropella KM, Wood JD, Hudetz AG "Isoflurane disrupts anterio-posterior phase synchronization of flash-induced field potentials in the rat," Neuroscience Letters, 402(3): 216-21, 2006.

Honors and Awards

  • Imprint Award, Professional Dimensions, 2023
  • STEM Forward, Engineer of the Year, 2016
  • KEEN 2016 Outstanding Dean Award
  • US Professor of the Year 2007, Wisconsin, The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and theCouncil for Advancement and Support for Education
  • 2008 Nora Finnigan Wera Faculty Achievement Award, Marquette University
  • Milwaukee Business Journal's Women of Influence, 2008
  • Fellow, American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering, 2003
  • Marquette University College of Engineering Outstanding Teacher Award 2002
  • Milwaukee Business Journal's 40 Under 40, 2000
  • Marquette University Robert and Mary Gettel Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence, 1996
  • Marquette University College of Engineering Outstanding Teacher Award 1994


“Thinking and Acting Differently Through the Legacy Initiative: Master’s Across Boundaries,” funded by the GHR Foundation for 1/1/2019 – 12/31/2023 (PI-Ropella)

“Opus College of Engineering Student Success Center,” funded by private alumni donations for 2018 – present (PI – Ropella)

“Building an Entrepreneurially Minded Ecosystem through Faculty Development, Curriculum Enhancements, and Student Enrichment Opportunities,” funded by Kern Family Foundation from 5/15/2017 – 1/30/2020 (PI-Ropella, Co-PI-Goldberg)

“Partnership in Engineering Research and Education Innovation,” funded by the GHR Foundation for 7/1/2015 – 6/30/2017 (PI-Ropella)

“E-Lead Engineering Leadership Program at Marquette University,” funded by private alumni donations for 2014-present (PI-Ropella)

"Kern Entrepreneurship Education Network: A KEEN Partnership," Sponsored by The Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Family Foundation, Inc., (September 1, 2014 - August 31, 2016).

Ropella, KM (Principal), Schmit, B (Co-PI) “Collaborative Research Integrating Neuroimaging and Neurorehabilitation: Continuing the Momentum," Sponsored by The Dr. Ralph and Marian Falk Medical Research Trust. (1/01/2013-12/30/2015)



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SWE Diversity

In this Diverse podcast episode, Dr. Kristina Ropella, first female dean at Marquette University's Opus College of Engineering, speaks to FY19 SWE President Penny Wirsing about her goal of changing the face of engineering. 

Listen to the complete podcast. 

Talk Nerdy with Cara Santa Maria

Dr. Kristina Ropella joins Cara Santa Maria for the Talk Nerdy podcast. They talk about her research in biosignal processing and medical imaging for diagnostic biomedical devices. They also discuss her role as Dean of Engineering, a position that is still incredibly rare to be held by a woman.

Listen to the complete podcast. 

STEM on Fire

Dr. Kristina Ropella joins the latest STEM on Fire podcast to chat about different career paths in engineering, how to succeed in college, her path to becoming dean and the best advice she's received along the way.

Listen to the complete podcast. 

We Are Marquette

Dr. Kristina Ropella, Opus Dean of Marquette University’s Opus College of Engineering, talks about changing the face of engineering to include more women and underrepresented minorities, and why that’s important to her.

Listen to the complete podcast.

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