Carnegie Mellon University

Kris Dahl

Dr. Kris N. Dahl

Professor, Chemical Engineering, Biomedical Engineering, and Materials Science & Engineering

Doherty Hall 2100C
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


  • B.S., Chemical Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, 1998

  • Ph.D., Chemical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, 2004


Prof. Kris N. 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. Prof. 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.


The research of Professor Kris Noel Dahl is focused on the structural and rheological properties of the cellular nucleus and cytoskeleton. In deciphering the structural and mechanical elements of the cell's nucleus, she adds needed insight into the roles of epigenetic regulation, stem cell differentiation, aging pathologies, and cancer progression and metastases. The integration of the cytoskeleton and nucleus provides a unique perspective into mechanical transmission of forces that influence genome expression. Over the years Professor Dahl’s research has spanned molecular, organelle, cellular, and multicellular length scales, using a combination of spectroscopic, imaging, biophysical, and computational approaches. Prof. Dahl's group has received funding from the NIH, Progeria Research Foundation, DOD, and NSF including an NSF CAREER award.

Research Interests: mechanics of the cell nucleus in normal and disease states; nuclear mechanics in stem cell differentiation and cancer progression; mechanotransduction; cellular interactions with nanomaterials


Awards and Recognition

  • Invited speaker at The National Cancer Institute's Physical Sciences-Oncology Symposium, 2016
  • National Science Foundation CAREER Award, 2010
  • Kun Li Award for excellence in education, awarded by graduating seniors of Chemical Engineering


  • Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award: Post-doctoral research fellowship from the NIH
  • American Society of Cell Biology 2004 annual society meeting Press Book as one of twelve of the most "newsworthy, significant or highly intriguing" research projects of the year
  • Whitaker Graduate Fellowship: Graduate research fellowship for biotechnology research