Daniel Llano


2355 Beckman Institute
405 North Mathews Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801
Office: (217) 244-0740

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Curriculum Vita
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Daniel Llano

Assistant Professor in Molecular and Integrative Physiology and the College of Medicine
Beckman Institute

Research Topics

Computational Biology, Imaging, Neurobiology, Optogenetics, Sensory Processing

Teaching Interests

The role of top-down projections in the processing of complex sounds

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.

Clinical/Translational : My patient care work is focused on aging and neurodegenerative disease. Consequently, our laboratory has an interest aging-related auditory network dysfunction, particularly as it relates to changes in network properties in the auditory thalamus and cortex.


Excellence in Teaching Recognition, 2012-2016
Golden Apple Teaching Award, 2015
Advances in Medicine Award, Carle Hospital, 2016
Helen Corley Petit Scholar, 2017

Representative Publications

Basic Science:

Patel M., Sons S., Yudintsev G., Lesicko A.M.H., Yang L., Taha G.A., Pierce S.M. and D.A. Llano (2017) Anatomical characterization of subcortical descending projections to the inferior colliculus in mouse. Journal of Comparative Neurology, Mar 1;525(4):885-900.

Lesicko AMH and DA Llano (2017) Impact of peripheral hearing loss on top-down auditory processing. Hearing Research, Jan;343:4-13.

Lesicko A.M.H., Hristova T.S., Maigler K.C., and D.A. Llano (2016) 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.

Caspary D.M. and D.A. Llano (2016) Auditory thalamic circuits and GABAA receptor function: Putative mechanisms in tinnitus pathology. Hearing Research, Accepted, In Press

Paul K., Cauller L.J. and D.A. Llano (2016) Presence of a chaotic region at the sleep-wake transition in a simplified thalamocortical circuit model. Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, Sep 1;10:91.

Stebbings, KA, Choi HW., Ravindra A., D.A. Llano (2016) The impact of aging, hearing loss and body weight on mouse hippocampal redox state, measured in brain slices using fluorescence imaging. Neurobiology of Aging, Jun;42:101-9.

Stebbings, KA, Choi HW., Ravindra A., Caspary DM, Turner JG, D.A. Llano (2016) Aging-related changes in GABAergic inhibition in the mouse auditory cortex, measured using in vitro flavoprotein autofluoresence imaging. J. Physiology. Jan 1;594(1):207-21.

Willis A.M., Slater B.J., Gribkova E., and D.A. Llano. (2015) Open-loop organization of thalamic reticular nucleus and dorsal thalamus: A computational model J. of Neurophysiology Oct;114(4):2353-67

Slater B.J., Fan A., Stebbings K.A., Saif T., and D.A. Llano (2015) Modification of a colliculo-thalamocortical mouse brain slice, incorporating 3-D printing of chamber components and multi-scale optical imaging. J. of Visualized Exp Sep 18;(103).

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

Llano, D.A.(2015) “Thalamus and Language” In The Neurobiology of Language. Small S. and Hickok G. eds. Elsevier Publishers, In Press.

Stebbings K.A., Lesicko A.M.H. and D.A. Llano (2014) The auditory corticocollicular system: Molecular and circuit-level considerations Hearing Research, Aug. 314C:51-59.

Llano, DA., Slater B.J., Lesicko A.M.H. and K.A. Stebbings (2014) An auditory colliculo-thalamocortical brain slice preparation in mouse. Journal of Neurophysiology, Jan;111(1):197-207.

Hasson U., Llano, DA., Miceli G. and A.S. Dick (2014) Does it talk the talk? On the role of basal ganglia in emotive speech processing (commentary). Behavioral and Brain Sciences, Dec;37(6):556-7.

Slater B.J., Willis A.M. and D.A. Llano (2013) Evidence for layer-specific differences in auditory corticocollicular neurons. Neuroscience. Jan 15;229:144-54

Llano, DA (2013) Functional imaging of the thalamus in language. Brain and Language. Jul;126(1):62-72.

Llano, DA, Caspary D. and J. Turner (2012) Diminished cortical inhibition in an aging mouse model of chronic tinnitus. Journal of Neuroscience. Nov 14;32(46):16141-8

Yang S., Yang S., Cox C.L., Llano, DA, Feng A.S. (2012) Cell's intrinsic biophysical properties play a role in the systematic decrease in time-locking ability of central auditory neurons. Neuroscience. 2012 Apr 19;208:49-57.

Theyel B.B., Llano, DA, Issa N., Mallik A. and S. M. Sherman. (2011) Laser photostimulation with flavoprotein autofluorescence imaging in vitro. Nature Protocols. Apr;6(4):502-8.

Theyel B.B., Llano, DA. and S. M. Sherman. (2010) Evidence for a cortico-thalamocortical pathway for cortical communication. Nature Neuroscience. 13(1):84-8.

Llano, DA and S.M. Sherman (2009) Differences in intrinsic properties and local network connectivity of identified layer 5 and layer 6 adult mouse auditory corticothalamic neurons support a dual corticothalamic projection hypothesis. Cerebral Cortex. Dec;19(12):2810-26.

Llano, DA., Theyel B.B., Mallik A., Sherman S.M. and N.P. Issa (2009) Rapid and sensitive mapping of long range connections in vitro using flavoprotein autofluorescence imaging combined with laser photostimulation. Journal of Neurophysiology. 101(6):3325-40


Wang H., Kim M., Normoyle K.P. and D Llano (2016) Thermal regulation of the brain – an anatomical and physiological review for clinical neuroscientists. Frontiers in Neuroscience, Jan 21;9:528.

Llano, DA and Small S. L. (2015) “Pharmacotherapy for Aphasia” In The Neurobiology of Language . Small S. and Hickok G. eds. Elsevier Publishers. (In Press).

Llano, DA and Small S. L. (2015) “Biological Approaches to Treatment of Aphasia” In Handbook on Adult Language Disorders , Hillis A., eds. Taylor & Francis Publishers. (In Press).

Lenz, RA, Pritchett, Y, Berry, SM, Llano, DA, Han, S, Berry, DA, Sadowsky, DA, Abi-Saab, WM, and MD Saltarelli (2015) Adaptive, Dose-Finding Phase 2 Trial Evaluating the Safety and Efficacy of ABT-089 in Mild-to-Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer Disease & Associated Disorders , Accepted, in press .

Wang, H, Wang, B, Jackson, K, Miller CM, Hasadsri L, Llano, D, Rubin R, Zimmerman J, Johnson C and B. Sutton (2015) A novel head-neck cooling device for concussion injury in contact sports. Translational Neuroscience , Accepted, in press.

Wang H, Wang B, Normoyle K, Jackson K, Spitler K, Sharrock MF, Miller C, Best C, Llano, D, and R Du (2014) Brain Temperature and Its Fundamental Properties: A Review for Clinical Neuroscientists (review) Frontiers in Neuroscience, Oct 8;8:307.

Llano, DA., Simon A. and V. Devanarayan (2013) Evaluation of plasma proteomic data for Alzheimer's Disease state classification and for prediction of progression from mild cognitive impairment to Alzheimer Disease. Alzheimer Disease and Associated Disorders. Jul-Sep;27(3):233-43

Llano, DA., Li J., Lenz R.A., Ellis T., Cassar S., Groebe D., Gopalakrishnan M. and Waring J.F. (2012) Evidence for disrupted CNS inflammatory dynamics in Alzheimer’s Disease. Alzheimer Disease Associated Disord. Oct-Dec;26(4):322-8

Li J, Llano, DA, Ellis T, LeBlond D, Bhathena A, Jhee SS, Ereshefsky L, Lenz R, Waring JF. (2012) Effect of human cerebrospinal fluid sampling frequency on amyloid-β levels. Alzheimers and Dementia Jul;8(4):295-303

Luo F, Rustay NR, Ebert U, Hradil VP, Cole TB, Llano, DA, Mudd SR, Zhang Y, Fox GB, Day M. (2012) Characterization of 7- and 19-month-old Tg2576 mice using multimodal in vivo imaging: limitations as a translatable model of Alzheimer's disease. Neurobiol Aging. May;33(5):933-44.

Small S.L. and Llano, DA (2009) Biological therapy for aphasia. Current Neurology and Neuroscience Reports. Nov;9(6):443-50.

Complete Publications List