Rodolfo Llinás

Rodolfo Llinás
Born (1934-12-16) 16 December 1934
Bogotá, Colombia
Residence New York City, New York, United States
Fields Neuroscience
Institutions NYU School of Medicine
Alma mater Universidad Javeriana and Australian National University
Known for Physiology of the cerebellum, the thalamus, Thalamocortical dysrhythmia as well as for his pioneering work on the inferior olive, on the squid giant synapse and on human magnetoencephalography (MEG)

Rodolfo R. Llinás (Bogota, Colombia 16 December 1934) is a Colombian American neuroscientist. He is currently the Thomas and Suzanne Murphy Professor of Neuroscience and Chairman Emmeritus of the department of Physiology & Neuroscience at the NYU School of Medicine. He attended the Gimnasio Moderno school and received his MD from the Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá in 1959 and his PhD in 1965 from the Australian National University working under Sir John Eccles.[1] Llinás has published over 500 scientific articles.

Early life

Llinás was born in Bogotá, Colombia. He went to the Gimnasio Moderno school in Bogotá and graduated as a medical doctor from the Pontifical Xavierian University.[1] Llinás is an atheist and describes himself as a logical positivist.[2]


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.[3]


Llinás has written that the brain evolved because organisms needed to move around in a coordinated manner.[4]

Further contributions include:

Memberships and Honors

Llinás is a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences (1986), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1996), 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:

He was the chairman of NASA/Neurolab Science Working Group and in 2013, the NYU Neuroscience Institute created the Annual Rodolfo Llinás Lecture Series in recognition of his contributions to the field of neuroscience.[10]

Selected bibliography


  1. 1 2 Squire, Larry R (2006). The history of neuroscience in autobiography. New York, New York: Elsevier. p. 413. ISBN 978-0-12-370514-3.
  2. P. (2016). Rodolfo R. Llinas - Can Science Talk God? Retrieved August 26, 2016, from
  3. 1 2 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. doi:10.1073/pnas.96.26.15222. PMC 24801Freely accessible. PMID 10611366.
  4. Grandin, Temple; Johnson, Catherine (2005). Animals in Translation. New York, New York: Scribner. p. 121. ISBN 0-7432-4769-8.
  5. Llinas, R; Terzuolo CA (1965). "Mechanisms of supraspinal actions upon spinal cord activities. Reticular inhibitory mechanisms upon flexor motoneurons". The Journal of Neurophysiology. 28: 413–422.
  6. Llinás, Rodolfo; Walton, Kerry D; Lang, Eric J (2004) [1st pub. 1974]. "Chapter 7: Cerebellum". In Shepherd, Gordon M. The synaptic organization of the brain. New York, New York: Oxford University press. pp. 271–310. ISBN 0-19-515955-1.
  7. Llinas, RR (1969). "Functional aspects of interneuronal evolution in the cerebellar cortex". UCLA Forum Med Sci. 11: 329-48. PMID 5397400.
  8. Llinas, R; Sugimori (1980). "Electrophysiological Properties of in Vitro Purkinje Cell Somata in Mammalian Cerebellar Slices". The Journal of Physiology. 305: 171–195.
  9. 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.
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