About me

I was born and raised in the French Alps, and moved to Lyon to do my PhD in the laboratory of Dr. Hubert Vidal. In 2011, I joined Prof. Amira Klip's laboratory in Toronto (Canada), where I started working on immunometabolism using in vitro models of inflammation and insulin resistance. I joined the Karolinska Institutet in 2015 as a Marie-Sklodowska Curie fellow (European Commission funded).

Research description

The field of immunometabolism builds on evidence for the contribution of immunity to the pathogenesis of obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D). Tissues involved in whole body metabolism become inflamed under metabolic stress and after exercise. However, exercise-associated inflammation and diabetes-associated inflammation trigger different outcomes: the former is needed to confer training adaptations, while the latter contributes to insulin resistance. In these contexts, the study of skeletal muscle immunometabolic responses has been neglected: the association between physical activity and immunometabolic responses and the impact of skeletal muscle inflammation on whole body insulin sensitivity is unknown.

My research aims at characterising the immunometabolic responses and identifying novel intervention targets to extinguish or selectively promote components of inflammation with the ultimate aim to improve insulin sensitivity.

Selected publications

  1. Pillon NJ, Gabriel BM, Dollet L, Smith JA, Botella J, Bishop DJ, Krook A and Zierath JR. Transcriptomic Profiling of Skeletal Muscle Adaptations to Exercise and Inactivity. Nat Commun. 2020 Jan 24;11(1):470.
  2. Abdelmoez AM, Sardón Puig L, Smith JA, Gabriel BM, Savikj M, Dollet L, Chibalin AV, Krook A, Zierath JR and Pillon NJ. Comparative profiling of skeletal muscle models reveals heterogeneity of transcriptome and metabolism. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2019 Dec 11.
  3. Soulage CO, Sardon-Puig L, Soulère L, Zarrouki B,  Guichardant M, Lagarde M and Pillon NJ. Skeletal muscle insulin resistance induced by 4-hydroxy-2-hexenal, a by-product of omega-3 fatty acid peroxidation. Diabetologia. 2018 Mar;61(3):688-699.
  4. Pillon NJ, Chan KL, Zhang S, Mejdani M, Jacobson MR, Ducos A, Bilan PJ, Niu W, Klip A. Saturated fatty acids activate caspase-4/-5 in human monocytes, triggering IL1β and IL18 release. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2016 Nov 1;311(5):E825-E835.
  5. Pillon NJ, Li YE, Fink LN, Brozinick JT, NikolayevA, Kuo MS, Bilan PJ, Klip A. Nucleotides released from palmitate challenged muscle cells through pannexin-3 attract monocytes. Diabetes. 2014 Nov;63(11):3815-26.

Teaching portfolio

  • Karolinska Institutet, Sweden (2016-present). I am involved in the Biomedicine Bachelor Programme as well as in several doctoral courses.
  • Stockholm University, Sweden (2018-present). I give a series of lectures on "skeletal muscle metabolism in health and diseases" in the Molecular Physiology Master program
  • Université de Lyon, France (2009-2010). I was involved in lab courses and tutorials in biochemistry and physiology at the bachelor level.
  • Institut National des Sciences Appliquées (INSA), France (2007-2010). I was involved in a series of lectures on at the bachelor levels focused on drug development "Birth, life and death of a drug" and metabolic diseases as well as lab courses in pharmacology.


  • PhD Thesis (2011), University de Lyon / INSA de Lyon, France
  • Master’s degree (2006), Université Claude Bernard, Lyon, France
  • Bachelor’s degree (2004), Université Joseph Fourrier, Grenoble, France

Academic honours, awards and prizes

  • Individual Fellowship. Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, European Union
  • Research Fellowship. Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF), Canada
  • Hugh Sellers Postdoctoral Fellowship. Banting and Best Diabetes Centre, Canada
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