First Name
Last Name
Associate Professor (starting Jan 2021)

Students Wanted
actively recruiting

Bachelor's Degree
Combined Honours Physics and Mathematics, University of British Columbia

Master's Degree
High Resolution Imaging of Spinor Gases, University of California, Berkeley - Supervisor: Dr. Dan Stamper-Kurn (2005)

Doctoral Degree
High Resolution Imaging of Spinor Gases, University of California, Berkeley - Supervisor: Dr. Dan Stamper-Kurn (2008)

Employment History

2021 Associate Professor
Physics, Science, University of British Columbia and Michael Smith Labs (joint appointment)

2017 Associate Professor
Physics, Science, McGill University

2012 - 2017 Assistant Professor
Physics, Science, McGill University

2009 - 2011 Mary Fieser Post Doctoral Research Fellow
Chemistry & Chemical Biology, Science, Harvard University
Supervisor: Adam Cohen


2020 Member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada
The Royal Society of Canada

2019 Young Investigator Award
Biophysical Society of Canada

2017 - 2020 NSERC Discovery Accelerator Designation - $120,000
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)

2015 - 2015 Science Executive Leadership Fellowship - $5,000
McGill University

Committees and Service

2018 Outreach Committee, McGill University

2017 - 2019 Mentoring Committee, McGill University

2016 - 2017 Physical Society Colloquium Committee, McGill University

2014 - 2017 Undergraduate Curriculum Committee., McGill University

2015 - 2016 Bionanomachines NSERC CREATE Fellowship Committee, McGill University and Concordia University

2013 - 2016 Women in Physics, McGill University. Physics Dept.

2014 - 2015 Chair: Biophysics Stream Proposal Subcommittee, McGill University. Physics Dept.

2013 - 2015 Physics and Physiology Program Subcommittee, McGill University.

2013 - 2014 Chair: Physics Society Colloquium Committee, McGill University. Physics Dept.


Research Area

Research Field
Single-molecule biophysics

Research Topics
DNA, RNA and protein interactions and dynamics
Therapeutic oligonucleotides
Nano-characterization and analytics
DNA super-structure
Polymers under confinement

Research Title
New tools lead to new discoveries: towards a mechanistic understanding of biophysical processes


The Leslie Lab is working at the interface of physics and biology with a particular interest in quantifying the dynamics of individual molecules. Dr. Leslie’s research provides insights into the biophysical properties of molecules and cells, including therapeutics with the ultimate goal of propelling quantitative health sciences. Her team is developing single-molecule and single-cell imaging and analysis tools, as well as mathematical models of molecular interactions, to help guide the rational design of new therapeutic molecules and delivery vehicles. These discoveries will elucidate the process of how molecules search for and bind to a target and perform their therapeutic function in a complex living environment, with a particular focus on nucleic acid interactions and advancing genetic medicines. Current projects include: understanding the biophysics of nucleic acid hybridization, understanding the mechanisms of antisense oligonucleotides, protein-protein interactions, and single- molecule activity in whole cells.

Selected Publications

Refereed Journals:

1. K. Thiombane, N. Coutin, D. J. Berard, R. Tahvildari, S. R. Leslie, C. Nislow. (2019). Single-cell analysis
for drug development using Convex Lens-Induced Confinement (CLiC) imaging.BioTechniques. 67(5):

2. Leslie, S.R, Berard, D., Kamanzi, A., Metera, K.L., Scott, S., Shaheen, C., Shayegan, M., Stabile, F.,
Tahvildari, R., Zhang, Z. (2019). Single-molecule imaging of the biophysics of molecular interactions with
precision and control,in cell-like conditions, and without tethers. Current Opinion in Biomedical Engineering.
12: 75-82.

3. Shane Scott, Cynthia Shaheen, Brendon McGuinness, Kimberly Metera, Fedor Kouzine, David Levens,
Craig J. Benham, Sabrina R. Leslie. (2019). Single-molecule visualization of the effects of ionic strength
and crowding on structure-mediated interactions in supercoiled DNA molecules. Nucleic Acids Research.
47(12): 6360-6368.

4. Marjan Shayegan, Radin Tahvildari, Kimberly Metera, Lydia, Kisley, Stephen Michnick, and Sabrina Leslie.
(2019). Probing inhomogeneous diffusion in the microenvironments of phase-separated polymers under
confinement. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 141(19): 7751-7757.

5. Daniel J. Berard and Sabrina R. Leslie. (2018). Miniaturized flow cell with pneumatically-actuated vertical
nanoconfinement for simple single-molecule imaging.Biomicrofluidics. 12: 054107.

6. Shane Scott, Zhi Ming Xu, Fedor Kouzine, Daniel J. Berard, Cynthia Shaheen,Laura Saunders, Barbara
Gravel, Alexander Hofkirchner, Catherine LeRoux, Jill Laurin, David Levens, Craig Benham, Sabrina R.
Leslie. (2018). Visualizing structure-mediated interactions in supercoiled DNA molecules.Nucleic Acids
Research. 46(9): 4622-4631.

7. Tyler Shendruk*, Dave Sean*, Daniel Berard*, Julian Wolf, Justin Dragoman, Sophie Battat, Gary Slater,
Sabrina R. Leslie. (2017). Rotation-induced macromolecular spooling of DNA. Phys. Rev. X. 7(3): 10.

8. Sabrina R. Leslie*, Albert Kamanzi, Daniel Berard, Marjan Shayegan, Gilead Henkin, Jason Leith, Shane
Scott, Francis Stabile. (2017). Biological Confinement Physics: Squeezing New Information out of Complex
Macro- molecules.Invited Review Article, Physics in Canada, Special Issue for June 2017.1: 5.

9. Daniel Berard*, Marjan Shayegan*, François Michaud, Gilead Henkin, Shane Scott, Sabrina R. Leslie.
(2016). Formatting and Ligating Biopolymers using Adjustable Nanotopographies. Applied Physics Letters.
109: 033702 - 033706.

10. Gilead Henkin, Daniel Berard, Francis Stable, Marjan Shayegan, Jason Leith, Sabrina R. Leslie. (2016).
Manipulating and visualizing molecular interactions in customized nanoscale spaces. Analytical Chemistry.
88: 7.

11. M. Jalal Ahamed, Sara Mahshid, Daniel J. Berard, François Michaud, Rob Sladek, Walter Reisner*,
Sabrina Leslie*. (2016). Continuous Confinement Fluidics: Getting Lots of Macromolecules into Small
Spaces. Macromolecules. 49(7): 2853-2859.

12. Jason Leith, Albert Kamanzi, David Sean, Daniel Berard, Andrew Caleb Guthrie, Christopher M.J. McFaul,
Gary W. Slater, Hendrick W. de Haan*, Sabrina R. Leslie*. (2016). Free Energy of a Polymer in Slit-Like
Confinement from the Odijk Regime to the Bulk. Macromolecules. 49: 5.

13. Bojing Jia, Tse-Luen Wee, Daniel J Berard, Adiel Mallik, David Juncker, Claire Brown*, Sabrina Leslie*.
(2016). Parallelized Cytoindentation Using Convex Micropatterned Surfaces. Biotechniques. 61(2): 73-82.

14. Sara Mahshid, Mohammed Jalal Ahamed, Daniel Berard, Susan Amin, Robert Sladek, Walter Reisner*,
Sabrina R. Leslie*. (2015). Development of a Platform for Single-Cell Genomics Using Convex Lensinduced
Confinement. Lab on a Chip. 15(14): 3013-3020.

15. Adriel Arsenault, Jason Leith, Gil Henkin, Christopher McFaul, Matthew Tarling, R. Talbot, Daniel
Berard, François Michaud, Shane Scott, Sabrina Leslie. (2015). Open-frame System for Single–Molecule
Microscopy. Review of Scientific Instruments. 86(3): 033701-033707.

16. Daniel J. Berard, François Michaud, Christopher M.J. McFaul, Sara Mahshid, Jason Leith, Pierre Berube,
Mohammed Jalal Ahamed, Rob Sladek, Walter Reisner*, Sabrina R. Leslie*. (2014). Convex Lens-Induced
Nanoscale Templating. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). 111(37): 13295-13300.


1. Nanofluidic system for molecular imaging. United States. US 62/572673. 2017/10/16.
Patent Status: Pending
Inventors: D.J. Berard, S.R. Leslie

2. Nanofluidic flow cell and method of loading sample. Canada. CA 2,974,368. 2017/07/20.
Patent Status: Pending
Inventors: D.J. Berard, G. Henkin, A. Kamanzi, S.R. Leslie.

3. Nanofluidic flow cell and method of loading sample. United States. US 15.654,339. 2017/07/20.
Patent Status: Pending
Inventors: D.J. Berard, G. Henkin, A. Kamanzi, S.R. Leslie.

4. Nanofluidic platform. United States. PCT.IB2017.000555. 2017/05/20.
Patent Status: Pending
Inventors: D.J. Berard, G. Henkin, S. R. Leslie.

5. Nanoscale Surface-embedded Topography Based Loading and Confinement Methods and Systems.
Canada. US Prov. Patent. App. 62/364359. 2016/07/20.
Patent Status: Pending
Inventors: Sabrina Leslie, Daniel Berard, Gilead Henkin, Albert Kamanzi, Francis Stabile, Francois Michaud.

6. Flow cell. United States. US 29611,297.
Patent Status: Granted/Issued
Year Issued: 2019
Inventors: D.J. Berard, A. Kamanzi, S. R. Leslie.

7. Flow cell. Canada. CA 176351.
Patent Status: Granted/Issued
Year Issued: 2019
Inventors: D.J. Berard, A. Kamanzi, S. R. Leslie.

8. Convex Lens-Induced Confinement (CLIC) for measuring distributions of molecular size. United States. US
Appl No. 15.234,964. 2016/08/11.
Patent Status: Granted/Issued
Year Issued: 2018
Inventors: Sabrina Leslie, Adam Cohen