Dr. Gilliland was awarded the Ph.D. degree in Food Science from N.C. State University in 1966. He received B.S. and M.S. degrees in Dairy Manufacturing from Oklahoma State University in 1962 and 1963 respectively. He was on the faculty in the Department of Food Science at N.C. State University until 1976. In the fall of 1976, he joined the faculty in the Department of Animal Science at Oklahoma State University as a Dairy-Food Microbiologist. The OSU Regents Professor and Sitlington Endowed Chair in Food Microbiology currently teaches both upper-level undergraduate and graduate courses in addition to serving as coordinator of the food science graduate program.
Dr. Gilliland’s career has included both research and teaching. His research has focused on the beneficial aspects of lactic acid bacteria, particularly the lactobacilli, as probiotics for human and livestock and as biocontrol agents for food borne pathogens in refrigerated foods. Because of his expertise in these areas, Gilliland has traveled to seven countries outside of the U.S. to present lectures and symposia papers, including a presentation to the World Health Organization.
He is a fellow in both the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) and the American Academy of Microbiology. Because of his accomplishments in both research and teaching, he has received eight awards at the national level and seven at Oklahoma State University. The latter includes the Eminent Faculty Award from among all OSU faculty; the highest recognition given to a faculty member at the University.