Pillai, Suresh

Back to faculty page

Suresh D. Pillai

Suresh D. Pillai
Director, National Center for Electron Beam Research
Professor of Microbiology & Texas AgriLife Research Faculty Fellow
Food Safety & Environmental Microbiology Program
Poultry Science Department and Nutrition and Food Science
418B, Kleberg Center, MS 2472
Phone: 979-845-2994
Fax: 979-845-1921

Suresh D. Pillai is a Professor of Microbiology and Texas AgriLife Research Faculty Fellow at Texas A&M University. He is the Director of the National Center for Electron Beam Research. He heads the Environmental Microbiology and Food Safety Program at Texas A&M University.

His primary research interest is in food safety and environmental microbiology. His research focuses on bacterial cell-cell signaling, the molecular ecology of pathogens in natural and man-made ecosystems and the use of novel technologies to concentrate, detect, and decontaminate pathogens. Dr. Pillai is involved in a number of professional activities on international and national levels. Most notably, he serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the US Department of Homeland Security Center for Microbial Risk Assessment (CAMRA), a member of the US General Accountability Office (GAO) Expert Panel on risks associated with Biosafety agent laboratories, and has served as Chair of the Fruit and Vegetable Safety Group of the International Association of Food Protection. He serves on the Environmental Microbiology Committee of the American Society for Microbiology.

He has edited two books (Microbial Pathogens within Aquifers: Principles and Protocols and Preharvest and Postharvest Food Safety: Contemporary Issues and Future Directions). He has written 20 book chapters, and published over 150 scientific publications. He has presented over 100 invited talks nationally and internationally in over 20 different countries.


Bachelor of Science, Botany
Loyola College, University of Madras, India

Master of Science, Industrial Microbiology
University of Madras, India

Microbiology & Immunology
University of Arizona, Tucson

Employment History

Texas A&M University System
Director and Professor

Texas A&M University System
Assistant, Associate Professor

Naval Medical Research Institute
Research Scientist

University of Arizona
Research Assistant Scientist


  • Member, Committee on Environmental Microbiology, American Society for Microbiology
  • Member, Science Advisory Board, BCR Environmental, Jacksonville, FL
  • Distinguished Lecturer, Institute of Food Technologists (IFT)
  • American Society for Microbiology, International Association of Food Production, Institute of Food Technologists, American Association of Advancement of Science, International Water Association

Selected Publications

  • Rambo, C. and S. D. Pillai. 2010. Pathogen testing in fresh produce and irrigation water In: Rapid detection, enumeration and characterization of foodborne pathogens. (Ed. J. Hoorfar). American Society for Microbiology Press, Washington, D.C.
  • McElhany, K. G.* and S. D. Pillai. 2010. Prevalence and Fate of Gut-Associated Human Pathogens in the Environment. In: The Fecal Indicator Bacteria (Eds. M. Sadowsky and R. Whitman). American Society for Microbiology Press, Washington D.C.
  • Reed, A. L.* and S. D. Pillai. 2010. E-Beam based ionizing radiation technology for municipal biosolid treatment. In: Solids Processing Design and Management Manual. (Ed. J. Smith). Water Environment Federation.
  • Pillai, S. D., and L. A. Braby. 2007. Electronic pasteurization of foods. In: Advances in Thermal and Non-Thermal Food Preservation. (Eds. G.Tewari and V. Juneja).  Blackwell Publishing, Ames, IA.
  • Pillai, S. D. and E. Vega*. 2007. Molecular Detection and Characterization Tools. In: Microbial Source Tracking. P 65-91.  (Eds. J. W. Santo Domingo and M. Sadowsky) American Society for Microbiology Press, Washington, D.C.
  • Beier, R. C.  and S. D. Pillai. 2007. Future directions in food safety. In: Foodborne Diseases. (Ed. S. Simjee).  Humana Press, Totowa, NJ.
  • Sobsey, M. D. and S. D. Pillai. 2009. Where future emerging pathogens will come from and what approaches can be used to find them besides VFARs? Journal of Water and Health 7: S75-S 93.
  • Jesudhasan, P. R*., M. L. Cepeda*, K. Widmer*, S. E. Dowd, K. A. Soni*, M. E. Hume, J. Zhu, and S. D. Pillai. 2010. Transcriptome Analysis of Genes Controlled by luxS/Autoinducer-2 in Salmonella enterica Serovar Typhimurium. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease 7: 399-410.
  • Ágoston, R.*, K. A. Soni*, P. Jesudhasan*, W. Russell, C. M. Farkas, and S. D. Pillai. 2009. Differential Expression of Proteins in Listeria monocytogenes under Thermo Tolerance-Inducing, Heat Shock, and Prolonged Heat Shock Conditions. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease 6: 1133-1140.
  • Alali W.Q., H. M. Scott, R. B. Harvey, B. Norby, D. B. Lawhorn, S. D. Pillai. 2008. Longitudinal study of antimicrobial resistance among Escherichia coli isolates from integrated multisite cohorts of humans and swine. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 74: 3672-3681.
  • Pillai, S.D. 2007. Bioaerosols from land-applied biosolids: issues and needs. Water Environment Research 79: 270-278.