Daniel Llano's directory photo.

Daniel Llano

Associate Professor

Primary Affiliation

Neurotechnology for Memory and Cognition


Status Full-time Faculty

Home Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology

Phone 244-0740


Address 2355 Beckman Institute, 405 North Mathews Avenue

  • Biography

    Daniel Llano is an associate professor in the Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology and a full-time faculty member in the Beckman Institute Neurotechnology for Memory and Cognition Group. His field of professional interest is systems neuroscience.


    • M.D., University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign 

    • Ph.D., University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

  • Honors
    • 2021: Excellence in Teaching Recognition
    • 2019: Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE)
    • 2017: Helen Corley Petit Scholar
    • 2017: Benjamin R. and Elinor W. Bullock and Edwin E. and Jeanne Bullock Goldberg Professorial Scholar
    • 2016: Advances in Medicine Award, Carle Hospital
    • 2015: Golden Apple Teaching Award
    • 2012-2019: Excellence in Teaching Recognition
  • Research

    Research interests:

    • Computational Biology

    • Imaging

    • Neurobiology

    • Optogenetics

    • Sensory Processing

    • Aging Related Diseases

    • Neurological and Behavioral Disorders

    Our laboratory studies the mechanisms by which complex sounds, such as speech, are processed by the auditory system. We hypothesize that the auditory system generates internal models of the sensory world and uses these models to extract meaning from complex sensory stimuli. One potential neuronal substrate for this generative model is the massive system of descending projections from the auditory cortex to virtually every level of the subcortical auditory system. These projections are critical for shaping the response properties of neurons in the auditory periphery, but very little is known about their functional organization.

    We employ electrophysiological, novel optical and advanced anatomical approaches to study the projections from the auditory cortex to subcortical structures. One specific set of issues that we address concerns the role of different cortical subnetworks in complex sound processing. For example, neurons in both cortical layer 5 and cortical layer 6 project to subcortical structures, and the neurons in these layers have very different intrinsic, integrative and synaptic properties. Our work explores the different roles that these groups of neurons play in the processing of complex sound.

    We also have a strong interest in studying the reorganization of such networks during neuronal disease. In particular, we are developing models of stroke and age-related auditory network dysfunction and hope to use these models for the development of novel therapeutic approaches.

  • 2021

    • Asilador A and D.A. Llano (2021) Top-down inference in the auditory system: Potential roles for corticofugal projections. Frontiers in Neural Circuits, Jan 22;14:615259.
    • Ibrahim BA, Murphy C, Yudintsev G., Shinagawa Y, Banks MI, Llano DA (2021) Corticothalamic gating of population auditory thalamocortical transmission in mouse. eLife, May 24;10:e56645
    • Lee CM, Sadowsky, RN, Schantz SL and D.A. Llano (2021) Developmental PCB exposure disrupts synaptic transmission and connectivity in the rat auditory cortex, independent of its effects on peripheral hearing threshold. eNeuro. Feb 1;8(1):ENEURO.0321-20.2021.
    • Llano DA, Ma C, Di Fabrizio U, Taheri A, Stebbings KA, Yudintsev G, Xiao G, Kenyon RV, Berger-Wolf TY (2021) A novel dynamic network imaging analysis method reveals aging-related fragmentation of cortical networks in mouse. Network Neuroscience, In Press.


    • Brown JW, Taheri A, Kenyon RV, Berger-Wolf T, DA Llano (2020) Propagation of cortical activity via open-loop intrathalamic architectures: a computational analysis. ENeuro. Feb 25;7(1).
    • Lesicko A.M.H., Sons S.K. and D.A. Llano (2020) Circuit mechanisms underlying the segregation and integration of parallel processing streams in the inferior colliculus. Journal of Neuroscience, Aug 12;40(33):6328-6344.
    • Liu Y-Z, Renteria C, Courtney CD, Ibrahim B, You S, Chaney EG, Barkalifa R, Iyer RR, Zurauskas M, Tu H, Llano DA, Christian CA, SA Boppart (2020) Simultaneous two-photon activation and imaging of neural activity based on spectral-temporal modulation of supercontinuum light Neurophotonics, Oct;7(4):045007.
    • Maclaine KD, Stebbings KA, Llano DA, Rhodes JS. (2020) Voluntary wheel running has no impact on brain and liver mitochondrial DNA copy number or mutation measures in the PolG mouse model of aging. PLoS One. 2020 Mar 2;15(3):e0226860.
    • Nadhimi, Y. and D.A. Llano (2020) Does hearing loss lead to dementia? A review of the literature Hearing Research, Jul 30:108038.
    • Nguyen LT, Marini F, Shende S.A., Llano D.A., Mudar RA. (2020) Investigating EEG theta and alpha oscillations as measures of value-directed strategic processing in cognitively normal younger and older adults. Behav Brain Res. May 24;391:112702
    • Zhao Y, Maguluri G, Ferguson RD, Tu H, Paul K, Boppart SA, Llano DA, Iftimia N (2020) Two-photon microscope using a fiber-based approach for supercontinuum generation and light delivery to a small-footprint optical head. Optics Letters. Feb 15;45(4):909-912.


    • Esmaeeli, S., Murphy K., Swords, GM, Ibrahim BA, Brown JW, D.A. Llano (2019) Visual hallucinations, thalamocortical physiology and Lewy Body Disease: A review. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, Aug;103:337-351.
    • Ibrahim, BA and DA Llano (2019) Aging and central auditory disinhibition: Is it a reflection of homeostatic downregulation or metabolic vulnerability? Brain Sciences. Dec 1;9(12).
    • Nguyen LT, Marini F, Zacharczuk L, Llano D.A., Mudar RA. (2019) Theta and Alpha Band Oscillations During Value-Directed Strategic Processing. Behav Brain Res. 2019 Jul 23;367:210-214.
    • Slater, B.J., Sons S.K., Yudintsev G., Lee C.M. and D.A. Llano (2019) Thalamocortical and intracortical inputs differentiate layer-specific mouse auditory corticocollicular neurons. Journal of Neuroscience, Jan 9;39(2):256-270.