Professor Llinás received his medical degree from Javeriana University (Bogota, Colombia) and his PhD from the Australian National University (Canberra, Australia). He trained as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Department of Physiology at the University of Minnesota. He has been a member of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) since 1986. He is also a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, the French Academy of Sciences and the Spanish Royal Academy of Medicine. Professor Llinás has authored over 500 publications in the field of brain research and has been awarded six honorary degrees.
Professor Llinás has devoted his life’s work to understanding the brain and, as he has written, “the nature of what we are” as humans. His research spans from the molecular to cognitive levels of inquiry. At the level of molecules, he revealed the existence of P-type calcium channels in cerebellar Purkinje neurons. At the sub-cellular level, he helped determine the role of calcium in presynaptic neurotransmitter release. Among his many other fundamental contributions, he is known for his work on the physiology and connectivity of cerebellar, brainstem, spinal cord, and thalamic neurons.
More recently, Professor Llinás and his group have contributed to the clinical application of brain function using Magnetoncephalography (MEG) recordings in humans. These studies have opened new horizons in the study of human cognition and further our understanding of many neurological diseases and disorders.