Sohan Birla

Sohan Birla, Ph.D., P.E.

Contact Information:
Email   
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Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Breakthrough Science / Innovation / RQI
Academic Degrees
  • B.S. Agricultural Engineering, Jawaharlal Nehru Agriculture University, Jabalpur MP, India
  • M.TECH. Dairy and Food Engineering, Indian Institue of Technology, Kharagpur, WB, India
  • Ph.D., Food Engineering, Washington State University, Pullman, WA, USA
  • Professional Engineer - Nebraska
Leads a simulation based approach for innovating product, package and processes.


Selected Publications

Peer Reviewed Publications

  1. Pitchai, K., Chen, J., Birla, S., Jones, D., Gonzalez, R. and Subbiah, J. (2015), Multiphysics modeling of microwave heating of a frozen heterogeneous meal rotating on a turntable. Journal of Food Science.
  2. K. Pitchai, J. Chen, S. Birla, D. Jones, J. Subbiah. 2015. Modeling Microwave Heating of Frozen Mashed Potato in a Domestic Oven Incorporating Electromagnetic Frequency Spectrum. Journal of Food Engineering.
  3. Chiang, J., Birla, S., Bedoya, M., Jones, D., Subbiah, J., & Brace, C. L. (2015). Modeling and validation of microwave ablations with internal vaporization. Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Transactions on, 62(2), 657-663.
  4. J. Chen, K. Pitchai, S. Birla, R. Gonzalez, D. D. Jones, J. Subbiah. 2015. Development of a multi-temperature calibration method for measuring dielectric properties of foods, IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation. 22(1):626-634.
  5. Chen J., Pitchai, K., Birla, S., Gonzalez, R., Jones, D., Subbiah., J. 2014. Heat and mass transport during microwave heating of mashed potato in domestic oven—Model development, validation, and sensitivity analysis, J. Food Science.
  6. Pitchai K, Chen J, Birla S, Gonzalez R, Jones D, Subbiah J. 2014. Microwave heat transfer model for rotating multi-component meal in domestic oven: development and validation. Journal of Food Engineering. 128:60-71.
  7. Michael, M., R. K. Phebus, H. Thippareddi, J. Subbiah, S.L. Birla, and K. A. Schmidt. 2014. Validation of radio-frequency dielectric heating system for destruction of Cronobacter sakazakii and Salmonella species in nonfat dry milk. Journal of Dairy Science, 97(12):7316–7324.
  8. Chen J, Pitchai K, Birla S, Gonzalez R, Jones D, Subbiah J. 2013. Temperature-dependent dielectric and thermal properties of whey protein gel and mashed potato. Transactions of the ASABE. 56(6):1457-1467.
  9. Pitchai, K., Chen J., Birla, Gonzalez, R., Jones, D., Subbiah., J. 2013. A Microwave heat transfer model for a rotating multi-component meal in a domestic oven: Development and validation. Submitted in J. of Food Engineering.
  10. Chen J., Pitchai, K., Birla, S., Gonzalez, R., Jones, D., Subbiah., J. 2013. Multiphysics modeling of microwave heating of a rotating model food tray in domestic oven, J. Food Engg., Submitted.
  11. Chen J., Pitchai, K., Birla, S., Gonzalez, R., Jones, D., Subbiah., J. 2013. Temperature dependent dielectric and thermal properties of microwavable model food. Transaction of ASABE, Submitted.
  12. Chen J., Pitchai, K., Birla, S., Gonzalez, R., Jones, D., Subbiah., J. 2013. Development of a multi-temperature calibration method for the measurement of dielectric properties applied to microwaveable food, IEEE Transaction on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation Society, Submitted.
  13. Michael, M., R. K. Phebus, H. Thippareddi, J. Subbiah, S.L. Birla, and K. A. Schmidt. 2012. Thermal inactivation of Cronobacter sakazakii and Salmonella spp. in nonfat dry milk using thermal-death-time disks and radio frequency dielectric heating. Journal of Dairy Science, Submitted.
  14. C. Chen, M. Michael, R. K. Phebus, H. Thippareddi, J. Subbiah, S.L. Birla, and K. A. Schmidt. 2012.  Radio frequency dielectric heating of nonfat dry milk affects solubility and whey protein nitrogen index. Journal of Dairy Science, In press
  15. Pitchai, K., Birla, S.L., Subbiah, J., Jones, D. 2012. Assessment of heating rate and non-uniform heating in domestic microwave ovens. J. of Microwave Power and Electromagnetic Energy,  46 (4), 2012, pp. 229-240..
  16. Pitchai, K. Birla, S., Subbiah J. 2012. Coupled Electromagnetic and heat transfer model for microwave heating in domestic ovens. J. of Food Engineering, 112, 110-111.
  17. Kumar V., Subbiah J., Birla S.L. 2011. A 3-D Computational fluid dynamics modeling and simulation studies of eggs placed on an egg tray under forced air convection, J. of Food Engineering, 108(3), 480-492.
  18. Tiwari G., Wang S., Tang J., Birla S. L. 2011. Analysis of radio frequency (RF) power distribution in dry food materials, J. of Food Engineering, 104, 548-556
  19. Tiwari G., Wang S., Tang J., Birla S. L. 2011. Computer simulation model development and validation for radio frequency (RF) heating of dry food materials. Journal of Food Engineering, 105, 48–56.
  20. Kumar V., Subbiah J., Birla S.L. 2009. A 3-D Heat Transfer and fluid flow model for cooling of an egg under forced convection, Transactions of the ASABE, 52(5).
  21. Birla S.L., Wang S., Tang J., Tiwari G. 2008. Characterization of radio frequency heating of fresh fruits influenced by dielectric properties. Journal of Food Engineering, 89(4): 390-398.
  22. Birla S.L., Wang S., Tang J. 2008. Computer simulation of radio frequency heating of model fruit immersed in water. Journal of Food Engineering, 84(2): 270-280.
  23. Tiwari G., Wang S., Birla S. L., Tang J. 2008.  Effect of water assisted radio frequency heat treatment on the quality of ‘Fuyu’ persimmons. Journal of Biosystems Engineering, 100(2): 227-234.
  24. Chung, H, Birla S.L., Tang J. 2008. Performance evaluation of aluminum test cell designed for determining the heat resistance of bacterial spores in foods. LWT Journal of Food Science & Technology, 41: 1351-1359.
  25. Birla S.L.,Wang S.,  Tang J., Hansen J. 2006. Postharvest treatment to control codling moth in fresh apples using water assisted radio frequency heating. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 40(1): 89-96. 
  26. Wang S., Tang J., Sun T., Mitcham E.J., Koral T., and Birla S.L. 2006. Considerations in design of commercial radio frequency treatments for postharvest pest control in in-shell walnuts. Journal of Food Engineering, 77: 304-312. 
  27. Birla S.L., Wang S., Tang J., Fellman J., Mattinson D., and Lurie S. 2005. Quality of oranges as influenced by potential radio frequency heat treatments against Mediterranean fruit flies. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 38(3), 66-79. 
  28. Birla S.L., Wang S., Tang J., and Hallman G. 2004. Improving heating uniformity of fresh fruits in radio frequency treatments for pest control. Postharvest Biology and Technology, 33(2): 205-217.
  29. Varshney A.C., Mangaraj S. and Birla S.L. 2005. Grading, packaging and marketing of sapota in South Gujarat, India. Agricultural Engineering Today.
  30. Varshney A.C., Mangaraj S. and Birla S.L. 2002.Technical bulletin entitled Fruit grading practices - status and future assessment, CIAE, Bhopal.

Book chapter

Birla, S., Dev, S. R. S, Subbiah, S. Raghavan, G. S. 2013. Food decontamination by microwave and radio frequency , In : Food decontamination: novel methods and applications, Woodhead Publishing,

Birla, S., Tang, J. 2014. RF Treatment of fresh fruits and vegetables, In: Radio Frequency heating in food processing: Principles and Applications, Taylor and Francis.

Conference Proceedings/Presentation

  1. A practical method to model complex 3-D geometrics with non-uniform material properties using image-based design and COMSOL Multiphysics. Proceeding of 2013 COMSOL conference at BOSTON, Oct 9-11, 2013.
  2. Birla, S. 2013. Opportunities and challenges in multi-scale modeling of food processing,

Annual meeting of ASABE, Kansas City, July 21-24.

  1. Chen, J., Pitchai, K., Birla, S., Subbiah, J. 2012. Simulation of microwave heating of porous media coupled with heat, mass and momentum transfer, COMSOL conference proceeding, Oct 3-5, Boston. MA.
  2. Pitchai, K., Raj, J., Chen, J., Birla, S., Gonzalez,  R., Wiemann, D., Subbiah, J. 2012. Microwave heat transfer model for frozen food in a rotating turntable, Poster presented at Annual IFT meeting and EXPO at Las Vegas, 25-28 June.
  3. Pitchai, K., Raj, J. D., Birla, S., Subbiah, J., Jones, D. 2012. Evaluation of different methods of coupling rotation with microwave heating modeling using Comsol Multiphysics, 46th Symposium of International Microwave Power Institute, Las Vegas, 20-22 June.
  4. Birla, S., Koral, T. 2012,  Design consideration of radio frequency heating system, 46th Symposium of International Microwave Power Institute,  Las Vegas, 20-22 June.
    1. Application of computer in food safety of microwavable not- ready- to-eat food product. International Microwave Power Institute Annual Meeting, July 8-10, Washington DC.
    2. Food processing engineering: Challenges and opportunities for collaborative research excellence. North Carolina Agriculture and Technical University, Greensboro, NC, Dec 7, 2009.
    3. Pulsed Electric Fields Processing: Current and potential application in food processing, Presented in UNL Professional Development Seminar, Nov. 23, 2009.
  1. Birla, S. L., Raj, J. D., Subbiah, J. 2011. Modeling of microwave heating of a rotating object in domestic oven, COMSOL conference proceeding, Oct 12-15, Boston. MA.
  2. Pitchai, K. Birla, S. L., Raj, J. D., Subbiah, J. 2011. Modeling of Susceptor assisted microwave heating of food package in domestic oven, COMSOL conference proceeding, Oct 12-15, Boston. MA
  3. Birla, S. L., Edel, V., Subbiah, J. 2011. Radio frequency treatment of egg white powder for quality and microbial safety, Poster presentation at IFT 2011, New Orleans
  4. Birla S. L., Pitchai K., Subbiah, J. 2011.  A critical comparison of COMSOL and QUICKWAVE software for modeling of microwave heating in domestic oven. Proceedings of  45th International Microwave Power Institute Annual Meeting, June 8-10, New Orleans, LA
  5. Pitchai K., Birla S. L., Subbiah, J. 2010.  Effect of location of small loads on heating rate and uniformity in domestic microwave ovens. Proceedings of  45th International Microwave Power Institute Annual Meeting, June 8-10, New Orleans, LA
  6. Birla S. L., Singaravadivel, K., Subbiah, J. 2010.  Radio frequency assisted parboiling of paddy. Proceedings of  International Microwave Power Institute Annual Meeting, July 14-16, Denver CO.
  7. Birla S. L., Pitchai K., Subbiah, J. 2010.  Effect of magnetron frequency on microwave heating pattern in domestic oven. Proceedings of  International Microwave Power Institute Annual Meeting, July 14-16, Denver CO.
  8. Birla S. L., Pitchai K., Subbiah J.  2009. Development and validation of Microwave cooking model, International Microwave Power Institute Annual Meeting, July 8-10, Washington DC.
  9. Birla S. L., Pitchai K., Subbiah J.  2009. Infra red real-time temperature monitoring of MW cooking: System development and validation. Proceedings of American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineer, Reno, June 22-25.
  10. Birla S.L., Wang S., Tang J. 2007. Design feasibility of continuous radio frequency heating process for fresh fruits. Annual ASABE meeting, Minneapolis.
  11. Birla S.L., Wang S., Tang J. 2006. Radio Frequency heating pattern as influenced by dielectric properties of fresh fruits. Annual ASABE meeting, Portland.
  12. Birla S. L., Wang S., Tang J. 2006. Simulation of radio frequency heating of spherical fruits using FEMLAB. IFT05 Annual meeting and EXPO, June 24-27, Orlando, FL.
  13. Birla S.L., Wang S., Tang J., Tiwari G. 2006. Characterization of heating of spherical fruit in parallel plate radio frequency system. Annual meeting of International Microwave Power Institute, Aug 9-12, Boston MA.
  14. Birla S.L., Wang S., Tang J. 2004. "Modeling radio frequency assisted hot water heating of spherical fruit. International conference on "Emerging Technologies in Agricultural and Food Engineering", Dec. 14-17, IIT Kharagpur, India.

Invited Presentation

  1. Application of computer in food safety of microwavable not- ready- to-eat food product. International Microwave Power Institute Annual Meeting, July 8-10, Washington DC.
  2. Food processing engineering: Challenges and opportunities for collaborative research excellence. North Carolina Agriculture and Technical University, Greensboro, NC, Dec 7, 2009.
  3. Pulsed Electric Fields Processing: Current and potential application in food processing, Presented in UNL Professional Development Seminar, Nov. 23, 2009.

Newsletter Articles

  1. S. L. Birla, Challenges in Development of Microwavable Not-Ready-to-Eat, Frozen Foods RFFD Newsletter, May 2008.
  2. S. L. Birla, New techniques for MW heating uniformity assessment, IMPI Newsletter, Nov. 2008.

Extramural Grant Activities

  • CO-PI on Radio frequency processing for improving the safety of low-moisture foods, Nebraska Research Initiative ($100 /year for 5 years).
  • Co-PI on center of excellence for electromagnetic energy based processes and product development. Interdisciplinary Research Pathway planning grant from UNL ($10K) 2012.
  • PI on Layman See grant proposal on modeling of microwave ablation process for patient specific procedure ($20K) 2012.
  • CO-PI on an ConAgra Foods sponsored research on microwave modeling of active packages, 2012 ($230K)
  • CO-PI on an ConAgra Foods sponsored research on microwave modeling 2011 ($100K)
  • CO-PI on NSF-BREAD research grant on “Sustainable on-farm “evaporative cooling” of fruits and vegetables to reduce postharvest loss - investigating the use of carbon nanotubes and solar thin films”, 2010.
  • Key Personnel and contributor on writing USDA-Food Safety research proposal "Improving the safety of prepared, but not ready-to-eat, microwaveable foods through heat transfer and pathogen destruction modeling" 2008. ($600, 000)
  • Co-PI on grant proposal submitted to USDA SCRI 2008 "Develop and optimize extraction of bioactive functional compounds from the fruit and vegetable processing wastes using novel processing technologies” ($400,000)
  • CO-PI on a project funded by Abbott Laboratories, Columbus, OH , 2008 ($57,220)
  • Co-PI on a project funded by Washington Technology Center  "Ready-to-serve shelf stable mushroom-soup in retortable pouches" ($50,000)