Leslie Shor

Associate Professor, Director of Undergraduate Studies


Ph.D., Rutgers University (2002)

Current Research

  • Microbial Systems Engineering
  • Agriculture Biotechnology
  • Environmental Biotechnology
  • Microfluidics & BioMEMS

Professional Activities

Chair Elect, 2018: Environmental Division, American Institute of Chemical Engineers
Member: American Chemical Society
Member: American Society for Microbiology
Member: American Society for Engineering Education

Current Research Group

Ph.D. Students M.S. Students Undergraduate Students
Grant M. Bouchillon
Brian Cruz
Yi-Syuan Guo
Andrea M. Kadilak
Alycia Fulton Frederick Bretherton
Mitchell Cyr
Victoria Drake
Elise Gilcher
Jake Lewis
Genesis Quiles-Galarza
Jessica Rehaag
Alyson Tacchi
Nur Hamideh
Cameron Harrington
Paige Orlofsky
Alyssa Pierne

Research Statement

Dr. Shor leads the Engineered Microhabitats research group.

OVERVIEW. Microbes important in nature, in medicine, and in industry generally live in complex communities and inhabit intricate, micro-structured habitats. The theme of the Engineered Microhabitats research group is to systematically understand the actions and interactions of microbial communities living in complex micro-habitats. This work has direct applications to biofuel production, environmental biotechnology, and medicine.

MOISTURE REGULATION BY SOIL BACTERIA. Microbial processes may help regulate the rate and extent of water loss from soils. This project aims to better understand the potential of microbes to promote resiliency in terrestrial ecosystems. We are developing a multifunctional in situ platform linking gene expression to overall system function in a physically realistic emulated soil microenvironment. This project will develop novel optogenetic tools to place the genes of soil microbes under the control of light and enable microscale spatiotemporal control of microbial genetic capabilities in situ, and build systems-level understanding of the microbial water-regulating function through pore-scale and root-scale mathematical modeling. Collaborative with Jessica Chau, Yongku  Cho, and Dan Gage. Funding: DOE. http://science.energy.gov/~/media/ber/berac/pdf/201510/Anderson_BERAC_Oct_2015.pdf

GREENER AGRICULTURE BIOTECHNOLOGY. Health and productivity of agricultural crops can be dependent on the presence of symbiotic microorganisms to fix nitrogen or protect plant roots from pathogens. This project is investigating the use of naturally-occurring soil protists to act as transport vectors to move beneficial bacteria through soils and improve crop yields while reducing the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides. UConn collaborator: Dan Gage (http://mcb.uconn.edu/daniel-gage/). Funding: USDA 2016-67013-24412. http://portal.nifa.usda.gov/web/crisprojectpages/1007947-enhanced-transport-of-plant-growth-promoting-rhizobacteria-by-coinoculated-soil-protists.html

MICROENGINEERING THE TERMITE GUT. The lower termite is capable of efficiently converting a mixed lignin-rich feedstock into usable chemicals such as acetate. We hypothesize micro-scale variations in the physical and chemical micro-habitat of the termite gut is essential in supporting the microbial community that achieves this conversion. In this research, we are attempting to produce a replica termite gut micro-bioreactor to better understand the maintenance and regulation of the termite microbiome, and ultimately, to harness it as a platform for next generation biomanufacturing. Collaborative with Ranjan Srivastava, Dan Gage, Joerg Graf, Bill Mustain, & Ken Noll. Funding: http://www.nsf.gov/awardsearch/showAward?AWD_ID=1137249


Previous Positions

2005-2009 Research Assistant Professor, Vanderbilt University Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
2002-2004 Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Vanderbilt University Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Awards & Honors

2014 DuPont Young Professor
2012 Finalist, Connecticut Women of Innovation, Academic Innovation and Leadership
2011 National Academy of Engineering Frontiers of Engineering Education Symposium Selectee
1996-1999 National Institutes of Health Biotechnology Training Program Fellow


Rubinstein, RL, AL Kadilak, VC Cousens, DJ Gage, LM Shor. 2015. Protist-facilitated particle transport using emulated soil micromodels. Environmental Science & Technology. 49(3), 1384–1391.

Deng, J, EP Orner, JF Chau, EM Anderson, AL Kadilak, RL Rubinstein, GM Bouchillon, R Goodwin, DJ Gage, LM Shor. 2015. Pore-scale determination of microbially-mediated drying resistance using emulated soil micromodels. Soil Biology & Biochemistry. 83(4), 116–124.

Bouchillon, GM, JF Chau, G. B. McManus, LM Shor. 2014. Microfluidic passive samplers for concentration and isolation of live protists. Analytical Methods. 6 (20), 8350-8357.

Kadilak, AL, Y. Liu, S Shrestha, JR Bernard, WE Mustain, LM Shor. 2014. Selective deposition of chemically-bonded gold electrodes onto PDMS microchannel side walls. J. Electroanalytical Chemistry. 727, 141-147.

Schröfel, A, G Kratošová, I Šafařík, M Šafaříková, I Raška, LM Shor. 2014. Applications of biogenic metallic nanoparticles – a review.” Acta Biomaterialia. 10 (10), 4023-4042

Deng, J, A Dhummakupt, PC Samson, JP Wikswo, LM Shor. 2013. “Dynamic dosing assay relating real-time respiration responses of Staphylococcus aureus biofilms to changing micro-chemical conditions.” Analytical Chemistry. 85 (11), 5411–19.


Contact Information
Phone(860) 486-3136
Mailing Address191 Auditorium Road, Unit 3222, Storrs, CT 06269-3222
Office LocationEII-209