Rodolfo Llinás

Rodolfo Llinás Riascos (born 16 December 1934) is a Colombian-born American neuroscientist. He is currently the Thomas and Suzanne Murphy Professor of Neuroscience and Chairman Emeritus of the Department of Physiology & Neuroscience at the NYU School of Medicine. Llinás has published over 800 scientific articles.[1]

Rodolfo Llinás
Rodolfo Llinás Riascos
Rodolfo Llinás in 2010.png
Born (1934-12-16) 16 December 1934 (age 86)
Bogotá, Colombia
Alma materPontificia Universidad Javeriana and Australian National University
Known forPhysiology of the cerebellum, the thalamus, Thalamocortical dysrhythmia as well as for his pioneering work on the inferior olivary nucleus, on the squid giant synapse and on human magnetoencephalography (MEG)
AwardsRalph W. Gerard Prize (2018)
Scientific career
InstitutionsNew York University
Doctoral advisorSir John Eccles

Early lifeEdit

Llinás was born in Bogotá, Colombia . He is the son of Jorge Enrique Llinás (a surgeon of Spanish descent, whose family arrived in Colombia at the end of the 19th century)[2] and Bertha Riascos. He was motivated to study the brain by watching his grandfather Pablo Llinás Olarte working as a neuropsychiatrist. Llinás describes himself as a logical positivist.[3]

Education and early researchEdit

Llinás went to the Gimnasio Moderno school in Bogotá and graduated as a medical doctor from the Pontifical Xavierian University in 1959.[4] During his medical studies he had the opportunity to travel to Europe and there he met several researchers in Spain, France and finally Switzerland, where he participated in neurophysiology experiments with Dr. Walter Rudolf Hess, Nobel Prize in Physiology, Medicine, professor and director of the Department of the Institute of Physiology of the University of Zurich. Additionally, while studying medicine he made a theoretical thesis on the visual system under the tuition of neurosurgeon and neurophysiologist Fernando Rosas and the mathematician Carlo Federici at the National University of Colombia.[5] He received his PhD in 1965 from the Australian National University working under Sir John Eccles.[4]

Personal lifeEdit

By graduation in Australia, he was very interested in the biological basis of the mind. During this time he met his future wife who was studying philosophy. His two sons, Drs. Rafael and Alexander Llinas, are also physicians. His wife, Gillian Llinas (née Kimber) is an Australian philosopher of mind. Llinás was a scientific advisor during the establishment of an interactive science museum located in Bogotá, Colombia called Maloka Museum. Recently, Llinás has donated a T-Rex skeleton to the museum and helped to design a model of the nervous system for the dinosaur fossils.[6][7]


He has studied the electrophysiology of single neurons in the cerebellum, the thalamus, the cerebral cortex, the entorhinal cortex, the hippocampus, the vestibular system, the inferior olive and the spinal cord. He has studied synaptic transmitter release in the squid giant synapse. He has studied human brain function using magnetoencephalography (MEG) on the basis of which he introduced the concept of Thalamocortical dysrhythmia.[8]


Llinás has occupied a number of positions.[9]

  • Research fellow, Massachusetts General Hosp.-Harvard University, 1960–61
  • National Institutes of Health research fellow in physiology, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 1961–63
  • Associate professor, University Minnesota, Minneapolis, 1965–66
  • Associate member, American Medical Association Institute Biomed. Research, Chicago, 1966–68
  • Member, American Medical Association Institute Biomed. Research, Chicago, 1970
  • Head neurobiology unit, American Medical Association Institute Biomed. Research, Chicago, 1967–70
  • Associate professor neurology and psychiatry, Northwestern University, 1967–71
  • Guest professor physiology, Wayne State University, 1967–74
  • Professorial lecturer pharmacology, University Ill.-Chgo., 1967–68
  • Clinical professor, University Ill.-Chgo., 1968–72
  • Professor physiology, head neurobiology div., University of Iowa, 1970–76
  • Prof., chairman physiology and biophysics, New York University, New York City, 1976—2011
  • Thomas and Suzanne Murphy professor neuroscience., New York University, 1985—
  • University Professor, Department of Neuroscience and Physiology., New York University, 2011—


Llinás is known for his many contributions to neuroscience, however, his most important contributions are the following:

Memberships and honorsEdit

Llinás is a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences (1986),[1] the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1996),[2] American Philosophical Society (1996), the Real Academia Nacional de Medicina (Spain) (1996) and the French Academy of Science (2002). Dr. Llinás has received honorary degrees from the following universities:

Dr. Llinás has received the following awards:

He was the chairman of NASA/Neurolab Science Working Group, in 2011 received University Professor Distinction from New York University [10] and in 2013, the NYU Neuroscience Institute created the Annual Rodolfo Llinás Lecture Series in recognition of his contributions to the field of neuroscience.[30]


  • Llinas, el cerebro y el universo. Documentary film, by Gonzalo Argandoña, Cabala Producción Audiovisual, (2018) RTVCplay [11]

Selected bibliographyEdit

Llinás is the author of more than 20 book chapters and has edited several books on neuroscience.


  • Hubbard, J.I., Llinás, R. and Quastel, D.M.J. Electrophysiological Analysis of Synaptic Transmission. London: Edward Arnold Publishers 1969.
  • Llinás, R. Editor. Neurobiology of Cerebellar Evolution and Development. (Chicago: Am. Med. Association, 1969)
  • Precht, W., Llinás, R. (eds.): Frog Neurobiology: a handbook. (Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1976). ISBN 978-3-642-66318-5
  • Steriade, M., Jones, E., y Llinás, R (Eds.): Thalamic Oscillations and Signaling. The Neurosciences Institute Publications Series. (John Wiley & Sons, 1990). ISBN 0-471-51508-6
  • Llinás, R. y Sotelo, C (eds.): The Cerebellum Revisited. (Nueva York: Springer-Verlag, 1992). ISBN 978-1-4612-7691-3
  • Buzsaki, G., Llinas, R., Singer, W., Berthoz, A., Christen, Y. (eds.): Temporal Coding in the Brain. (Nueva York: Springer-Verlag, 1994). ISBN 978-3-642-85150-6
  • Latorre, R., López-Barneo, J., Bezanilla, F., Llinás, R. (Eds) Biofísica y fisiología celular. (Universidad de Sevilla, España, 1996). ISBN 84-472-0339-5
  • Llinás, Rodolfo R. and Churchland, Patricia S. Mind-Brain Continuum: Sensory Processes The MIT Press (September 9, 1996) ISBN 0-262-12198-0
  • Llinás, Rodolfo R. The Squid Giant Synapse : A Model for Chemical Transmission Oxford University Press, USA (December 15, 1999) ISBN 0-19-511652-6
  • Llinás, Rodolfo. El reto: Educación, Ciencia y Tecnología. Tercer Mundo Editores, (2000) ISBN 978-958-601-887-6
  • Llinás, R. I of the vortex: from neurons to self (MIT Press, Cambridge, MA. 2001). ISBN 0-262-62163-0

Book chaptersEdit

  • Llinas R, Rivary U. Perception as an oneiric-like state modulated by the senses. Chapter 6. In: Koch C. Large-scale neuronal theories of the brain. Bradford Book. (1994). ISBN 9780262111836
  • Llinas RR., Walton KD. Cerebellum. Chapter 7. In: Shepherd GM. The synaptic organization of the brain. 4th Ed. New York: Oxford University Press. (1998) ISBN 0195118243
  • Llinas RR., Walton KD., Lang EJ. Cerebellum. Chapter 7. In: Shepherd GM. The synaptic organization of the brain. 5th Ed. Oxford University Press. (2004) ISBN 0195159551
  • Llinas, R. R. Neuroscientific basis of consciousness and dreaming. Chapter 3.6. In: Kaplan and Sadock's Comprehensive textbook of psychiatry. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 8th ed. (2005).
  • Llinás, R. Electrophysiology of the Cerebellar Networks. Comprehensive Physiology (2011). Supplement 2. Handbook of Physiology, The Nervous System, Motor Control. doi:10.1002/cphy.cp010217 ISBN 9780470650714
  • Llinas RR., Walton K. Central pain: a thalamic deafferentation generating thalamocortical dysrhythmia. Chapter 4. In: Saab CY. Chronic pain and brain abnormalities. Academic Press-Elsevier (2014). ISBN 9780123983893
  • Llinas, RR. Oscillation in the inferior olive neurons: Functional implication. Chapter 39. pp. 293–298. In: Essentials of Cerebellum and Cerebellar Disorders: A Primer for Graduate Students. Springer (2016) ISBN 978-3-319-24551-5
  • Llinas, R. R. Consciousness and Dreaming from a Pathophysiological Perspective: The Thalamocortical Dysrhythmia Syndrome. Chapter 3.5. In: Kaplan and Sadock's Comprehensive textbook of psychiatry. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. 10th ed. (2017). ISBN 978-1-4511-0047-1

Selected review articlesEdit


  1. ^ NYU Health Sciences Library: Faculty Bibliography. Retrieved June 14, 2021
  2. ^ ""La pregunta difícil": La vida y obra de Rodolfo Llinás". (in Spanish). 25 November 2017. Retrieved 16 May 2021.
  3. ^ P. (2016). Rodolfo R. Llinas - Can Science Talk God? Retrieved August 26, 2016, from
  4. ^ a b Squire, Larry R (2006). The history of neuroscience in autobiography. New York, New York: Elsevier. p. 413. ISBN 978-0-12-370514-3.
  5. ^ Correa, Pablo (2017). Rodolfo Llinás. La pregunta difícil (in Spanish). Aguilar. ISBN 9789585425408.
  6. ^ Tiempo, Casa Editorial El (2018-07-24). "Maloka se reinventa y estrena atracción: un tiranosaurio rex". El Tiempo (in Spanish). Retrieved 2019-05-22.
  7. ^ EL TIEMPO (2018-07-26), Rodolfo Llinás regaló un T Rex a Maloka | EL TIEMPO, retrieved 2019-05-22
  8. ^ a b Llinás R, Ribary U, Jeanmonod D, Kronberg E, Mitra P (1999). "Thalamocortical dysrhythmia: A neurological and neuropsychiatric syndrome characterized by magnetoencephalography". Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 96 (26): 15222–7. Bibcode:1999PNAS...9615222L. doi:10.1073/pnas.96.26.15222. PMC 24801. PMID 10611366.
  9. ^ Perruso, Alison, ed. (2016) [April 2016]. Who's Who in Science and Engineering 2016-2017. New Providence, New Jersey: Marquis Who's Who, 2016. ISBN 978-0-8379-5772-2.
  10. ^ Llinas, R; Terzuolo CA (1964). "Mechanisms of supraspinal actions upon spinal cord activities. Reticular inhibitory mechanisms on alpha-extensor motoneurons". The Journal of Neurophysiology. 27 (4): 579–491. doi:10.1152/jn.1964.27.4.579. PMID 14194959.
  11. ^ Llinas, R; Terzuolo CA (1965). "Mechanisms of supraspinal actions upon spinal cord activities. Reticular inhibitory mechanisms upon flexor motoneurons". The Journal of Neurophysiology. 28 (2): 413–422. doi:10.1152/jn.1965.28.2.413. PMID 14283063.
  12. ^ Llinás, Rodolfo; Walton, Kerry D; Lang, Eric J (2004) [1st pub. 1974]. "Chapter 7: Cerebellum". In Shepherd, Gordon M (ed.). The synaptic organization of the brain. New York, New York: Oxford University press. pp. 271–310. ISBN 978-0-19-515955-4.
  13. ^ Llinas, RR (1969). "Functional aspects of interneuronal evolution in the cerebellar cortex". UCLA Forum Med Sci. 11: 329–48. PMID 5397400.
  14. ^ Baker, R.; Llinás, R. (1971-01-01). "Electrotonic coupling between neurones in the rat mesencephalic nucleus". The Journal of Physiology. 212 (1): 45–63. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.1971.sp009309. ISSN 0022-3751. PMC 1395705. PMID 5545184.
  15. ^ Llinás, R.; Steinberg, I. Z.; Walton, K. (1976-08-01). "Presynaptic calcium currents and their relation to synaptic transmission: voltage clamp study in squid giant synapse and theoretical model for the calcium gate". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 73 (8): 2918–2922. Bibcode:1976PNAS...73.2918L. doi:10.1073/pnas.73.8.2918. ISSN 0027-8424. PMC 430802. PMID 183215.
  16. ^ Llinás, R.; Steinberg, I. Z.; Walton, K. (1980-09-01). "Transmission in the squid giant synapse: a model based on voltage clamp studies". Journal de Physiologie. 76 (5): 413–418. ISSN 0021-7948. PMID 6256531.
  17. ^ a b Llinas, R; Sugimori (1980). "Electrophysiological Properties of in Vitro Purkinje Cell Somata in Mammalian Cerebellar Slices". The Journal of Physiology. 305: 171–195. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.1980.sp013357. PMC 1282966. PMID 7441552.
  18. ^ Llinás, R.; Sugimori, M. (1980-08-01). "Electrophysiological properties of in vitro Purkinje cell dendrites in mammalian cerebellar slices". The Journal of Physiology. 305: 197–213. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.1980.sp013358. ISSN 0022-3751. PMC 1282967. PMID 7441553.
  19. ^ Buckey, Jay C. (2003). Neurolab Spacelab Mission: Neuroscience Research in Space. Houston, Texas: NASA. ISBN 978-0-9725339-0-4.
  20. ^ Llinás, R.; Yarom, Y. (June 1981). "Electrophysiology of mammalian inferior olivary neurones in vitro. Different types of voltage-dependent ionic conductances". The Journal of Physiology. 315: 549–567. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.1981.sp013763. ISSN 0022-3751. PMC 1249398. PMID 6273544.
  21. ^ Llinás, R.; Yarom, Y. (June 1981). "Properties and distribution of ionic conductances generating electroresponsiveness of mammalian inferior olivary neurones in vitro". The Journal of Physiology. 315: 569–584. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.1981.sp013764. ISSN 0022-3751. PMC 1249399. PMID 7310722.
  22. ^ Roy, Sisir; Llinás, Rodolfo (2007). Models of Brain and Mind - Physical, Computational and Psychological Approaches. Progress in Brain Research. 168. pp. 133–144. doi:10.1016/s0079-6123(07)68011-x. ISBN 9780444530509. PMID 18166391.
  23. ^ Llinás, Rodolfo (1990). «Intrinsic Electrical Properties of Mammalian Neurons and CNS Function». Fidia Research Foundation Neuroscience Award Lectures, 1988-1989 (Raven Press) 4: p. 175.
  24. ^ Llinas, R; Sugimori, M; Silver, R. (1 May 1992). "Microdomains of high calcium concentration in a presynaptic terminal". Science. 256 (5057): 677–679. Bibcode:1992Sci...256..677L. doi:10.1126/science.1350109. PMID 1350109.
  25. ^ Rezai, A. R.; Hund, M.; Kronberg, E.; Deletis, V.; Zonenshayn, M.; Cappell, J.; Ribary, U.; Llinás, R.; Kelly, P. J. (1995). "Introduction of magnetoencephalography to stereotactic techniques". Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery. 65 (1–4): 37–41. doi:10.1159/000098894. ISSN 1011-6125. PMID 8916327.
  26. ^ Llinas R., Yarom Y. (1986). "Oscillatory properties of guinea-pig inferior olivary neurones and their pharmacological modulation: an in vitro study". J. Physiol. 376: 163–182. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.1986.sp016147. PMC 1182792. PMID 3795074.
  27. ^ Alonso A., Llinas R. (1989). "Subthreshold Na+-dependent theta-like rhythmicity in entorhinal cortex layer II stellate cells". Nature. 342 (6246): 175–177. doi:10.1038/342175a0. PMID 2812013. S2CID 1892764.
  28. ^ Llinas, R. R.; Leznik, E.; Makarenko, V. I. (July 2004). "The olivo-cerebellar circuit as a universal motor control system". IEEE Journal of Oceanic Engineering. 29 (3): 631–639. Bibcode:2004IJOE...29..631L. doi:10.1109/joe.2004.833212. ISSN 0364-9059. S2CID 21127267.
  29. ^ Bandyopadhyay, Promode R. (2016). "11. Highly Maneuverable Biorobotic Underwater Vehicles". In Dhanak, MR (ed.). Springer Handbook of Ocean Engineering | SpringerLink. Springer International Publishing. p. 1287. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-16649-0. ISBN 978-3-319-16648-3. S2CID 133526257.
  30. ^ "Neuroscience Institute Events".

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