Dr. Alexander Gill

Research Scientist

Leading a laboratory research team investigating the prevention of foodborne illness due to pathogenic Escherichia coli.

Current research and/or projects

Current research activities, include the development of methods of analysis for verotoxin producing Escherichia coli (VTEC or STEC) in foods, the application of non-thermal decontamination technologies to foods, and the phenotypic and genomic characterisation of pathogenic E. coli.

Research and/or project statements

  • Co-developer of Health Canada Compendium of Analytical Methods protocol for the detection of verotoxin producing E. coli (VTEC) in food (MFLP-52)
  • Enumerative analysis of outbreak foods to determine pathogen levels
  • Investigation of non-thermal decontamination technologies for food, including irradiation and high pressure processing
  • Development of methods for the detection and isolation of VTEC from food.
  • Analysis of food samples to support the investigation of outbreaks of foodborne disease. 

Education and awards

Doctor of Philosophy - Food and Nutritional Sciences, University of Manitoba, 2006

Master of Science – Food Sciences, University of Manitoba, 2000

Bachelor of Science – Biological Sciences, University of Alberta, 1996

International experience and/or work

Member Joint FAO/WHO Expert Meeting on Shigatoxigenic E. coli (STEC) 2016 to present

Member International Standards Technical Advisory Group 18 Shigatoxigenic E. coli Methods 2016 to Present

Member of International Scientific Committee for the 10th International Symposium on Shiga Toxin (Verocytotoxin) producing Escherichia coli. VTEC2018.org, 2018

Member of STEC Working Group for AOAC International Stakeholder Panel on Alternative Methods 2012

Key publications

Gill, A. Dussault, F., McMahon, T., Petronella, N., Wang, X., Cebelinski, E., Scheutz, F., Weedmark, K., Blais, B., and Carrillo, C. 2022. Characterisation of atypical Shiga toxin gene sequences and description of Stx2j, a new subtype. Journal of Clinical Microbiology. 60(3):e02229-21. DOI: 10.1128/jcm.02229-21

Pitino, M.A., Unger, S., Gill, A., McGeer, A.J., Doyen, A., Pouliot, Y., Bazinet, R.P., Kothari, A., Mazzulli, T., Stone, D., and O'Connor, D.L. 2022. High pressure processing inactivates human cytomegalovirus and hepatitis A virus while preserving macronutrients and native lactoferrin in human milk. Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies. 75, 102891. DOI: 10.1016/j.ifset.2021.102891

Gill, A., McMahon, T., Dussault, F., Jinneman, K., Lindsey, R., Martin, H., Stoneburg, D., Strockbine, N., Wetherington, J., and Feng, P. 2022. Delayed Lactose Utilization among Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli of serogroup O121. Food Microbiology. 102: 103903. DOI: 10.1016/j.fm.2021.103903

McMahon, T., Bastian, J., Alshawa, I., and Gill, A. 2021. PCR primers for screening food for verotoxin-producing Escherichia coli, inclusive of three vt1 and seven vt2 subtypes. Journal of Food Protection. 84(2): s 296–302. DOI: 10.4315/JFP-20-233. (

Wang, Z., Fang, Y., Zhi, S., Simpson, D.J., Gill, A., McMullen, L.M., Neumann, N.F., and Gänzle, M.G. 2020. The Locus of Heat Resistance confers resistance to chlorine and other oxidizing chemicals in Escherichia coli. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 86(4):e02123-19. DOI: 10.1128/AEM.02123-19

Nasheri, N., Doctor, T., Chen, A., Harlow, J., and Gill, A. 2020. Evaluation of high-pressure processing in inactivation of the Hepatitis E Virus. Frontiers in Microbiology. 11:461. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2020.00461

Gill, A., McMahon, T., Dussault, F., and Petronella, N. 2020. Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli survives storage in wheat flour for two years. Food Microbiology. 87: 103380. DOI: 10.1016/j.fm.2019.103380

Gill A., Carrillo, C., Hadley, M., Kenwell, R. and Chui, L. 2019. Bacteriological analysis of wheat flour associated with an outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O121. Food Microbiology. 82:474-481. DOI: 10.1016/j.fm.2019.03.023

Pires, S.M., Majowicz, S., Gill, A., and Devleesschauwer, B. 2019. Global and regional source attribution of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli infections using analysis of outbreak surveillance data. Epidemiology and Infection. 147:e236. DOI: DOI: 10.1017/S095026881900116X

Devleesschauwer, B., Pires, S.M., Young, I., Gill, A., Majowicz, S.E., and the study team. 2019. Associating sporadic, foodborne illness caused by Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli with specific foods: a systematic review and meta-analysis of case-control studies. Epidemiology and Infection. 147:e235. DOI: 10.1017/S0950268819001183

Gill, A.O., Tamber, S and Yang, X. 2019. Relative response of populations of Escherichia coli and Salmonella enterica to exposure to thermal, alkaline and acidic treatments. International Journal of Food Microbiology. 293:94-101. DOI: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2019.01.007

Gill, A. and Austin, J. 2018. The ecology of bacterial agents of foodborne disease. Chapter 4. In The connections between ecology and infectious disease. Edited by C.J. Hurst. Springer. pp 115-162.

Pollari, F., Christidis, T., Pintar, K.D.M., Nesbitt, A., Farber, J., Lavoie, M-C, Gill, A., Kirsch, P., Correa, J.A., and Johnson, R. 2017. Evidence for the benefits of food chain interventions on E. coli O157:H7/NM prevalence in retail ground beef and human disease incidence: a success story. Canadian Journal of Public Health. 108(1):e71-e78. DOI: 10.17269/cjph.108.5655

Gill, A.O. 2017. The Importance of Bacterial Culture to Food Microbiology in the Age of Genomics. Front. Microbiol. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2017.00777.

Gill, A. and Huszczynski, G. 2016. Enumeration of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in outbreak associated beef patties. Journal of Food Protection. 79(7):1266-1268.

Liu, Y., Gill, A., McMullen, L., and Gänzle, M.G. 2015. Variation in heat and pressure resistance of verotoxigenic Escherichia coli and non-toxigenic reference strains. Journal of Food Protection. 78(1):111-120.

Gill, A. and Oudit, D. 2015. Enumeration of Escherichia coli O157 in Outbreak-Associated Gouda Cheese Made with Raw Milk. Journal of Food Protection. 78(9):1733–1737

Gill, A., Huszczynski, G., Gauthier, M., and Blais, B. 2014. Evaluation Of Eight Agar Media For The Isolation Of Shiga Toxin–Producing Escherichia coli. Journal of Microbiological Methods. 96:6-11

Catford, A., Kouamé, V., Martinez-Perez, A., Gill, A., Buenaventura, E., Couture, H. and Farber, J.M. 2014. Risk Profile on non-O157 verotoxin-producing Escherichia coli in produce, beef, milk and dairy products in Canada. International Food Risk Analysis Journal. 4:32, DOI: 10.5772/59208.

Kundu, D., Gill, A., Lui, C., Goswami, N., and Holley, R. 2014. Use of low dose e-beam irradiation to reduce E. coli O157:H7, non-O157 (VTEC) E. coli and Salmonella viability on meat surfaces. Meat Science. 96:413-418.

Kundu, D., Gill, A., and Holley, R. 2013. Use of low dose irradiation to evaluate the radio-sensitivity E. coli O157:H7, non-O157 (VTEC) E. coli and Salmonella in Phosphate Buffered Saline. Journal of Food Protection. 76(8):1438-1442.

Ganz, K., and Gill A. 2013. Inhibition of polymerase chain reaction for the detection of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella enterica on walnut kernels. Food Microbiology. 35:15-20.

Huszczynski, G., Gauthier, M., Mohajer, S., Gill, A., and Blais. B. 2013. Method for the detection of priority shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli in beef trim. Journal of Food Protection. 76 (10):1689-1696.

Research facility

251 Sir Frederick Banting Driveway
Ottawa, ON K1A 0K9



International Association for Food Protection

Editoral Board Member of the journals International Journal of Food Microbiology and Food Microbiology