Michael Pillay completed a BSc degree in Botany and Zoology and a University Higher Diploma in Education at the University of  Durban- Westville (now University of KwaZulu –Natal), a BEd and BA from the University of South Africa (UNISA), a BSc (Hons)   at  University of  Durban- Westville, MS (Agronomy) at Louisiana State University and Ph.D  at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Prof Pillay is the author and co-author of many articles and book chapters.  He served as an Editor for the American Journal of Agronomy and is on the editorial board of the Journal of Crop Improvement. Prof Pillay’s research interests are:  Biotechnology, breeding, molecular genetics, genetics, plant sciences, plant systematics, cytogenetics, tissue culture and germplasm conservation of crop plants. Prof Pillay started his career as an Educator (1974-1984) before obtaining a scholarship to the USA. After completing three  postdoctoral fellowships in the USA, he joined the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Nigeria as an Associate Scientist to work on cytogenetics and molecular biology of bananas and plantains. He was then transferred to Uganda as a Scientist and banana breeder/molecular biologist.
He joined the Vaal University of Technology in 2007 as an Associate Professor, was employed at  UNISA as Professor in 2009, and rejoined the Vaal University of Technology in 2010 where his main interests are Research and Teaching.      
Education
BSc, UHDE, BEd, BA, BSc (Hons), MS, PhD
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
Biotechnology, breeding, molecular genetics, genetics, plant sciences, systematics, cytogenetics, tissue culture and germplasm conservation of crop plants.