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Carpenter combines joy of making things with the life sciences; finds passion in biomechanics

EAS_Website_102333-resizedMechanical engineering associate professor Dana Carpenter grew up in a small town in Georgia and was exposed to the technical makeup of cars thanks to his father, who was an amateur race car driver.

“I really like mechanics, building things, tinkering with things,” says Carpenter.

Carpenter’s research has a human anatomical purpose, combining his joy of making things with the life sciences. “I want to make devices that work better with the human body. I am interested in preventing health problems from happening in the first place,” he states.

His research centers around arthritis and osteoporosis. Carpenter designs devices to help prevent hip and spine fractures. “I want to treat people when they are younger,” he says.

Carpenter enjoys lecturing and working with students in his lab and seeing their growth as they experience the spark of understanding that comes with hard work. Carpenter’s advice to future engineering students is to find your passion and study hard.

The diversity of the CU Denver campus and the career-driven direction of the College of Engineering and Applied Science are qualities Carpenter likes about the university. “I like that we are increasing the amount of research and creating relationships with local industries. If you think about our world, the buildings you walk in, the cars you drive in, the products you buy; they all come from engineering,” states Carpenter.

In 2017, Carpenter was chosen to give a TedTalk at the University of California, Los Angeles. Carpenter’s TED Talk was on the effects of living without gravity on the human body. Carpenter applied and was chosen, due to his research on astronauts living in space and how lack of gravity influenced their bone strength and density.

“I got to meet other people in the sciences as well as people from other professions. The event was a fun way to share ideas,” he says.

Carpenter enjoys skiing the beautiful Colorado mountains and spending time with his family.

Contributed by Laura Babb, BA English 2019

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