Kris N. Dahl is an associate professor in the Departments of Chemical Engineering and Biomedical Engineering at Carnege Mellon University, with a courtesy appointment in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. Dahl joined Carnegie Mellon University in 2006. She received her B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Carnegie Mellon in 1998 and her Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 2004. Her thesis research was on the mechanics and architecture of composite membrane systems under the supervision of Dennis Discher. Dahl then completed a postdoctoral appointment at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the Department of Cell Biology where she focused on the biochemical and functional analysis of spectrin-repeat complexes at the nuclear envelope under Katherine L. Wilson.

Dahl's research uses rheological, biophysical, and optical techniques to understand the structure and organization of the cell nucleus. These studies are relevant to dissecting the molecular pathology of diseases caused by defects in nuclear structure.

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Kris Dahl
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Chemical Engineering and Chocolate: A Sweet Combination

Discovering Spectrin: A New Mechanical Element

Cell Mechanics

Molecular Biomechanics


2005 Postdoctoral fellowship, Cell Biology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

2004 Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, University of Pennylvania

1998 BS, Chemical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University

Media mentions

Chemical Engineering

Dahl and Sanches collaborate on cell research

For ChemE’s Kris Dahl the pandemic has in part created both international and interdisciplinary research opportunities.

Chemical Engineering

COVID-19 creates opportunities for international research

Collaborative research through CMU’s Portugal Program provides insight into how fibrosis can start and become so devastating in different body tissues.

CMU Engineering

Commonalities found between viral infections and ovarian cancer

Apparent similarities between latent DNA viral infections and quiescent cancer cells could lead to new treatments for ovarian cancer.

CMU Engineering

Calcium helps build strong cells

Research from Kris Dahl marks the first definitive look at how cells maintain structural integrity under mechanical strain.


Bettinger, Dahl, and Zhang named AIMBE Fellows

BME/MSE’s Christopher Bettinger, BME/ChemE’s Kris Dahl, and MechE’s Jessica Zhang have been elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE)’s College of Fellows, Class of 2020. Zhang has also been elected as an American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) Fellow (2020).

CMU Engineering

Move to remote research invites innovation

While much of our lives can now function remotely, the transition to online poses unique challenges for academia—particularly for research universities like Carnegie Mellon.

CMU Engineering

The future of human healing lies in the brain of a starfish

Stem cell therapy is about to get a whole lot cheaper, thanks to the incredible regenerative powers of starfish.

CMU Engineering

“Seeing” the dual-layered scaffolding of cellular nuclei

Using super-sensitive microscopic imaging, Kris Dahl partnered with Pitt/UPMC to make a fundamental biological discovery that could be key to untangling the mechanisms underlying several genetic diseases.

CMU Engineering

Dahl uses sensors to measure forces within cell monolayers

Kris Dahl is using a new technique called SINK (sensors from intranuclear kinetics) to observe the properties of an entire monolayer of cells and determine how broadly cells communicate.

CMU Engineering

Separation line

Carnegie Mellon researchers have developed a novel device that separates blood cells using sound waves.

Dahl and Armiger’s research featured in

ChemE’s Kris Dahl and Travis Armiger recently discovered that the cell nucleus recovers from major deformations in part because of a spring-like, mechanical element called a spectrin protein that exists in the nucleus.

CMU Engineering

Department news

The initiatives underway in the College’s departments embody the value we place on progress. Here are some of our current projects and prides.