Daniel Llano


  • Title: Associate Professor
  • Group: Neurotechnology for Memory and Cognition
  • Affiliations: Illinois Language and Literacy Initiative
  • Status: Beckman Full-time Faculty
  • Home: Molecular and Integrative Physiology


  • 2355 Beckman Institute
  • 405 North Mathews Avenue
  • Urbana, Illinois 61801


Daniel Llano received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois. He is an associate professor in the U of I Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology and a full-time faculty member in the Beckman Institute NeuroTech group. His field of professional interest is systems neuroscience.


Benjamin R. and Elinor W. Bullock and Edwin E. and Jeanne Bullock Goldberg Professorial Scholar, 2017
Helen Corley Petit Scholar, 2016
Advances in Medicine Award, Carle Hospital, 2016 
Golden Apple Teaching Award, College of Medicine 2015


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.


  • 2017
    • Sottile S.Y., Hackett T.A., Cai R., Llano D.A., and Caspary, D.M. Presynaptic neuronal nicotinic receptors differentially shape select inputs to auditory thalamus and are negatively impacted by aging. Journal of Neuroscience, Oct 23, 2017. pii: 1795-17.
    • Lesicko A.M.H. and Llano, D.A. Impact of peripheral hearing loss on top-down auditory processing. Hearing Research, Jan 2017;343:4-13
    • Patel M., Sons S., Yudintsev G., Lesicko A.M.H., Yang L., Taha G.A., Pierce S.M. and Llano, D.A., Anatomical characterization of subcortical descending projections to the inferior colliculus in mouse. Journal of Comparative Neurology, Mar 1, 2017;525(4):885-900.
    • Caspary D.M. and Llano, D.A. Auditory thalamic circuits and GABAA receptor function: Putative mechanisms in tinnitus pathology. Hearing Research, Jun 2017;349:197-207.
    • Ibrahim B.A., Wang H., Lesicko A.M.H., Bucci B., Paul K. and Llano, D.A., Effect of Temperature on FAD and NADH-derived signals and neurometabolic coupling in the mouse auditory and motor cortex. JPflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology, Dec 2017;469(12):1631-1649.
  • 2016
    • Stebbings, K. A.; Choi, H. W.; Ravindra, A.; Llano, D. A., The Impact of Aging, Hearing Loss, and Body Weight on Mouse Hippocampal Redox State, Measured in Brain Slices Using Fluorescence Imaging. Neurobiology of Aging, 2016, 42, 101-109.
    • Stebbings K.A., Choi H.W., Ravindra A., Caspary D.M., Turner J.G., and Llano, D.A. Aging-related changes in GABAergic inhibition in the mouse auditory cortex, measured using in vitro flavoprotein autofluoresence imaging. Journal of Physiology. Jan 1, 2016;594(1):207-21.
    • Lesicko, A. M. H., Hristova, T. S., Maigler, K. C., & Llano, D. A. Connectional modularity of top-down and bottom-up multimodal inputs to the lateral cortex of the inferior colliculus. Journal of Neuroscience Oct 26, 2016;36 (43):11037-11050.
    • Paul, K., Cauller, L. J., & Llano, D. A. Presence of a chaotic region at the sleep-wake transition in a simplified thalamocortical circuit model. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, Sep 1, 2016;10:91.
    • Wang H., Kim M., Normoyle K.P. and Llano, D. Thermal regulation of the brain – an anatomical and physiological review for clinical neuroscientists. Frontiers in Neuroscience, Jan 21, 2016;9:528.
    • Sadowski R.N., Stebbings K.A., Slater, B.J., Bandara, S.B., Llano, D.A. and S.L. Schantz, Developmental exposure to PCBs alters the activation of the auditory cortex in response to GABAA antagonism. Neurotoxicology. Jul 12, 2016;56:86-93.


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