Daniel Llano



  • 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 assistant 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.


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.


  • 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.; Llano, D. A., Ageing-Related Changes in Gabaergic Inhibition in Mouse Auditory Cortex, Measured Using in Vitro Flavoprotein Auto fluorescence Imaging. Journal of Physiology-London 2016, 594, (1), 207-221.
    • 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;36 (43):11037-11050.
    • Patel, M., Sons, S., Yudintsev, G., Lesicko, A. M. H., Yang, L., Taha, G. A., Pierce, S. M., & Llano, D. A. Anatomical characterization of subcortical descending projections to the inferior colliculus in mouse. Journal of Comparative Neurology Aug 25.
    • 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;10:91.
  • 2015
    • Ma, C., Kenyon, R. F., Forbes, A., Berger-Wolf, T., Slater, B. J., and Llano, D. A. Visualizing dynamic brain networks using a dual-representation. Eurographics Conference on Visualization (EuroVis),
    • Llano D.A. “ Thalamus and Language” In The Neurobiology of Language. Small S. and Hickok G. (Eds.) Elsevier Publishers.

    • Fan, A., Stebbings K.A., Llano D.A. and T. Saif (2015) Stretch Induced Hyperexcitability of Mice Callosal Pathway. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience Aug 5;9:292.

    • Fan, A., Stebbings, K. A., Llano, D. A., & Saif, T. (2015). Stretch induced hyperexcitability of mice callosal pathway. Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience, 9:222.
    • Slater, B. J.; Fan, A. Y.; Stebbings, K. A.; Saif, M. T. A.; Llano, D. A., Modification of a Colliculo-Thalamocortical Mouse Brain Slice, Incorporating 3-D Printing of Chamber Components and Multi-Scale Optical Imaging. Jove-Journal of Visualized Experiments 2015 (103).
    • Willis, A. M.; Slater, B. J.; Gribkova, E. D.; Llano, D. A., Open-Loop Organization of Thalamic Reticular Nucleus and Dorsal Thalamus: A Computational Model. Journal of Neurophysiology 2015, 114, (4), 2353-2367.


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