Faculty & Staff

Michael Shiaris, PhD

Professor of Biology - Microbial Ecology.


Areas of Expertise

Microbial Ecology


PhD, University of Tennessee (1979)
MS, Colorado State University (1976)
BS, University of Maryland (1972)

Professional Publications & Contributions

Additional Information

Teaching Interests

Microbiology and Ecology. I taught the Microbiology course (Biol 334) for over 25 years but starting in fall 2010, I developed a new undergraduate course, “Genomics: microbes, the human microbiome, and marine metagenome.” This year I am offering a project-based learning laboratory for the Genomics course. My teaching experience at the undergraduate level also includes introductory biology, population ecology, coastal ecology, and immunology. In the spring semesters I typically teach a graduate course in Microbial Physiology (Bio 627) or Microbial Ecology (Biol 628). My teaching experience at the graduate level also includes Chemistry and Biology of Urban Estuaries (EnvSci 697) and Introduction to Research Techniques (EnvSci 614).

Research Interests

Currently, I have a master's student and two undergraduates working in three general areas of environmental microbiology/microbial ecology. One area is bacterial indicators of pollution and their survival in coastal environments, the second is the bacterial population ecology in coastal environments, and the third area is plant root-bacterial interactions (with Profs Adan Colon-Carmona and Rick Kesseli). We use DNA fingerprinting, DNA sequencing, and routine microbiological techniques to study bacteria in coastal environments and the rhizosphere. I also interact with the Coastal Environmental Network Sensor group to develop remote bacterial sensors.

Current Grant Support

  • DNA fingerprint characterization of fecal indicator bacteria in the Souhegan River, New Hampshire, watershed. ENSR International. M.P. Shiaris, (PI).
  • Shiaris, Michael P: Co-PI. National Science Foundation Division of Integrative Organismal System: Genetic Bases and Ecological Significance of Plant-Microbe Interactions in the Rhizosphere. (PI: Rick Kesseli, UMass Boston; Co-PI Adan Colon-Carmona, UMass Boston and Jeffrey Dukes, Purdue University).
  • Roxbury-Bunker Hill-UMass Boston "Bridges to Baccalaureate," an initiative for minority students: Bridges to Baccalaureate, National Institutes of Health, National Institute of General Medical Sciences. M. P. Shiaris, (PI).

Current Lab Group

  • Steven Bryant-Allen (MS, Enterococci Occurrence and Distribution in Marine Beach Sands).
  • Danielle Eschuk (Undergraduate, Diversity of Enterococcus in the Environment).