The Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU) had its genesis from establishment of an Agricultural School at Saidapet, Madras, Tamil Nadu, as early as 1868 and it was later relocated at Coimbatore.
As a molecular plant breeder, he is actively involved in the millet breeding programme which leads to the development of nine high yielding millet varieties viz., Finger Millet (Co(Ra) 14 & ALT1), Little millet (CO(Sa)4) & ALT1), Proso millet (CO(Pv)5), Barnyard millet (CO(Kv) 2),Foxtail millet [CO(Te)7 & ALT1] and Kodo Millet (ALT2) released through CVRC for commercial cultivation.
Three new tropical wheat varieties were developed in collaboration with IARI Wellington (Bread wheat varieties COW (W) 1, COW3, and a samba wheat variety COW 2) and identified durable rust resistance QTL using a genome-wide association mapping approach. Developed an interspecific SNP-based Mungbean linkage map. Identified key genes responsible for host plant resistance in Mungbean to MYMV and bruchid through transcriptomics and proteomics approaches. Carrier training through STA Post-Doctoral Fellowship during 2000-2022 in Japan in genomics resulted in the development of high beta carotene maize inbreeds through Marker Assisted Breeding (MAB).
Registered two maize inbred lines UMI1200 β+-2 and UMI1230 β+-1 in NBPGR for the high beta carotene traits using MAB. The first-time elucidation of the genetic basis of grain dispersal mechanisms in Barley which is published in the Journal “CELL” in 2015 with a Japanese patent. He is handling Molecular marker technology & Applied Biotechnology courses for undergraduate students for the past twenty years.
Two textbooks namely “Botany of tropical field crops” and “Principles of genetics” is written for the undergraduate students of Agriculture. The course contents were developed for TNAU-Cornell University, USA dual degree programme. He has guided seventeen master’s students and seven doctoral students in various areas of molecular breeding research. He is responsible for the establishment of the new Department of Biotechnology at AC&RI, Madurai. He is also responsible for the establishment of the Central Instrumentation facility with the cost of 6.03 crore to take up multidisciplinary research projects during 2014-18 as a Project Director, Centre of Innovation at AC&RI.
Dr. Senthil is a recipient of several honors and awards viz., Tamil Nadu Scientist Award (2014) from TN State Council for Science and Technology, Best Researcher Award of TNAU (2016), Science and Technology Association -Japanese government award for Post-Doctoral Research (2000), TATA-CORNELL Fellow-Cornell University, USA, (2009), TNAU, Niche Area of Excellence Award in Molecular Breeding,(2018), Fellow of National Academy of Agricultural Sciences,(2022)