Daniel Llano


2355 Beckman Institute
Office: (217) 244-0740
Lab: (217) 244-0755

Lab Page
Curriculum Vita

Daniel Llano

Assistant Professor, Molecular and Integrative Biology
Beckman Institute affiliate
Ph.D. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Excellence in Teaching Recognition, 2012-2017
Golden Apple Teaching Award, 2015
Carle Advances in Medicine, 2016
Helen Corley Petit Scholar, 2017
Bullock-Goldberg Professorial Scholar, 2017

Currently Teaching

NEUR 314 - Introduction to Neurobiology

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.

Collaborative Projects

Ongoing collaborations with: Susan Schantz, Kara Federmeier, Raksha Mudar, Taher Saif, Tanya Berger-Wolf (Computer Science, UIC) and Robert Kenyon (Computer Science, UIC)

Research Areas

Major Grants

R01 DC013073-01A1 LLANO, DANIEL A (PI) Functional organization of the auditory corticocollicular system

R21 DC014765-01 LLANO, DANIEL A (PI) Thalamic reticular nucleus modulation of auditory thalamocortical function

1515587, NSF LLANO, DANIEL (PI) CRCNS: Community Dynamic Imaging of Corticothalamic Projections

S10OD023569-01 LLANO, DANIEL A (PI) An upright multiphoton microscope for biomedical research applications

Representative Publications

Basic Science:

Gribkova, E.D., Ibrahim, B.A. and D.A. Llano (2018) A novel mutual information estimator to measure spike train correlations in a model thalamocortical network. Journal of Neurophysiology, in Press.

Sottile S.Y., Hackett T.A., Cai R., Llano D.A., and D.M. Caspary (2017) Presynaptic neuronal nicotinic receptors differentially shape select inputs to auditory thalamus and are negatively impacted by aging. Journal of Neuroscience, Nov 22;37(47):11377-11389.

Ibrahim B.A., Wang H., Lesicko A.M.H., Bucci B., Paul K. and D.A. Llano (2017) 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;469(12):1631-1649.

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 A.M.H. and D.A. Llano (2017) Impact of peripheral hearing loss on top-down auditory processing. Hearing Research, Jan;343:4-13.

Caspary D.M. and D.A. Llano (2017) Auditory thalamic circuits and GABAA receptor function: Putative mechanisms in tinnitus pathology. Hearing Research, Jun;349:197-207.

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.

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).

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.

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.

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.


Swords G.M., Nguyen L.T., Mudar R.A. and D.A. Llano (2018) Auditory system dysfunction in Alzheimer Disease and its prodromal states: A review. Ageing Research Reviews, Jul;44:49-59.

Llano, DA, Mudar R, Bundela S and Devanarayan D. (2017) A multivariate predictive modeling approach reveals a novel CSF peptide signature for both Alzheimer's Disease state classification and for predicting future disease progression. PLOS One, Aug 3;12(8):e0182098.

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.

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.

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 , Jul-Sep;29(3):192-9.

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-? 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.

Complete Publications List (PubMed)