Areas of Interest
Insulin delivery, diabetes education, diabetes camps, medical education, nasal drug delivery



Dr. Pillion is a native of Hartford, CT. He earned a B.A. in Biology and Chemistry from the University of Hartford. Dr. Pillion earned a Ph.D. in 1976 from the Medical College of Georgia in Cell & Molecular Biology. He completed post-doctoral training with Mike Czech at Brown University (1976-1979), where he studied the action of insulin in controlling glucose uptake into fat cells.

Dr. Pillion was recruited to join the faculty in the Department of Pharmacology at the UAB School of Medicine in 1979, where he rose through the ranks from Assistant Professor to tenured Professor and served as Interim Department Chair. 
He retired as a Professor of Pharmacology & Toxicology at the UAB School of Medicine in 2011, after serving as a faculty member at UAB for 32 years. He continues to teach at the UAB School of Medicine on a part-time basis.

  • Research Interests

    Dr. Pillion has been actively engaged in other diabetes-related activities for many years. He has served at Alabama's camp for children with diabetes as Staff Education Director, Board Member, and finally serving as Chairman of the Board of Directors. He also has served as a volunteer leader for the Alabama Association of Diabetes Educators, where he has served in the role of Program Director, President and Advocacy Chairman. He has served the American Association of Diabetes Educators as a member of the Advocacy Committee and as Chair of the Diabetes Camp Specialty Practice Group and Chair of the Pediatric and Camp Community of Interest. In 2008-9, he served as the liaison to the AADE Board of Directors from the Specialty Practice Groups. Dr. Pillion has served the Alabama Department of Public Health as Chairman of the Diabetes Action Committee and as a member of the Obesity Task Force. Dr. Pillion also served on the Volunteer Development Committee of the American Diabetes Association. He is also a member of the Community Advisory Committee for AlaCare, Inc., a Birmingham-based hospice and home health organization. Currently, Dr. Pillion serves as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Diabetes Education and Camping Association, an alliance of over 140 diabetes camp organizations around the world that collectively serve over 22,000 children with Type 1 diabetes mellitus.

  • Selected Publications

    High efficiency intranasal drug delivery using Intravail® alkylsaccharide absorption enhancers. Maggio ET, Pillion DJ. Drug Deliv Transl Res. 2013 Feb;3(1):16-25. PMID: 25787864

    Nasal absorption of mixtures of fast-acting and long-acting insulins. Pillion DJ, Fyrberg MD, Meezan E. Int J Pharm. 2010 Mar 30;388(1-2):202-8. PMID: 20080164

    Reestablishment of the nasal permeability barrier to several peptides following exposure to the absorption enhancer tetradecyl-beta-D-maltoside. Arnold JJ, Fyrberg MD, Meezan E, Pillion DJ. J Pharm Sci. 2010 Apr;99(4):1912-20. PMID: 19894270

    Correlation of tetradecylmaltoside induced increases in nasal peptide drug delivery with morphological changes in nasal epithelial cells. Arnold JJ, Ahsan F, Meezan E, Pillion DJ. J Pharm Sci. 2004 Sep;93(9):2205-13. PMID: 15295781

    Effects of the permeability enhancers, tetradecylmaltoside and dimethyl-beta-cyclodextrin, on insulin movement across human bronchial epithelial cells (16HBE14o-). Ahsan F, Arnold JJ, Yang T, Meezan E, Schwiebert EM, Pillion DJ. Eur J Pharm Sci. 2003 Sep;20(1):27-34. PMID: 13678790

    Synthetic long-chain alkyl maltosides and alkyl sucrose esters as enhancers of nasal insulin absorption. Pillion DJ, Ahsan F, Arnold JJ, Balusubramanian BM, Piraner O, Meezan E. J Pharm Sci. 2002 Jun;91(6):1456-62. PMID: 12115845

    Insulin delivery in nosedrops: new formulations containing alkylglycosides. Pillion DJ, Atchison JA, Gargiulo C, Wang RX, Wang P, Meezan E. Endocrinology. 1994 Dec;135(6):2386-91. PMID: 798842

    Identification of insulin receptors on the mucosal surface of colon epithelial cells. Pillion DJ, Ganapathy V, Leibach FH. J Biol Chem. 1985 May 10;260(9):5244-7. PMID: 3886652

    Isolation of adipocyte plasma membrane antigens by immunoaffinity chromatography. Insulinomimetic antibodies do not bind directly to the insulin receptor or the glucose transport system. Pillion DJ, Carter-Su CA, Pilch PF, Czech MP. J Biol Chem. 1980 Oct 10;255(19):9168-76. PMID: 6773960

    Antibodies against intrinsic adipocyte plasma membrane proteins activate D-glucose transport independent of interaction with insulin binding sites. Pillion DJ, Czech MP. J Biol Chem. 1978 Jun 10;253(11):3761-4. PMID: 649602


Ph.D., Medical College of Georgia

Postdoctoral Fellowships
Postdoctoral Fellow, Brown University


Office Location
Volker Hall 251