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Neuroscientist Rodolfo Llinás, MD, PhD, Awarded Gold Medal from the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

CSIC Bestows Its Highest Distinction Upon Dr. Llinas for His Life-Long Contributions to Neuroscience

Rodolfo Llinás, MD, PhD, the Thomas and Suzanne Murphy Professor of Neuroscience, University Professor and former chair of the Department of Physiology and Neuroscience at NYU School of Medicine, was awarded the Gold Medal for Science by The Spanish National Research Council (CSIC), the highest distinction offered by the CSIC. Dr. Llinás received this award for the many contributions he has made to the neurosciences over the course of his career.

Dr. Llinás was recognized during a ceremony held to celebrate the Year of Neuroscience in Spain, promoted by the Spanish Society of Neuroscience, on November 20, 2012, at the CSIC headquarters in Madrid, Spain. The CSIC is the largest public institution dedicated to research in Spain and the third largest in Europe.

“On behalf of the entire NYU Langone community, I congratulate Dr. Llinás for receiving this prestigious international scientific honor,” said Robert I. Grossman, MD, dean and CEO at NYU Langone Medical Center. “He is a brilliant neuroscientist, and this award recognizes the exceptional contributions his research has made to understanding the human brain over the course of his successful career.”

Dr. Llinás is a world-renowned neuroscientist who studies the brain from the submicroscopic level–where molecules influence physiology, to the macroscopic–where thought and the mind shape behavior.

He is known for pioneering magnetoencephalography (MEG), a highly sensitive, noninvasive technology for measuring the brain’s electrical activity, and for elucidating how certain brain diseases arise from thalamocortical dysrhythmia, the disruption of connections between the thalamus and the cortex. Each of these cerebral regions has its own intrinsic oscillations that are generated by normal physiology, such as sleeping or thinking. Thus, in a state of sleep, the thalamus oscillates at low frequencies, whereas in an active and conscious state it oscillates at high frequencies. When these neuronal oscillations, or intrinsic rhythms, are out of sync the consequence is disease, such as depression, epilepsy, or Parkinson’s. This theory is important because it unifies neurology and psychiatry. One of the most significant achievements among Dr. Llinás’ recent work is the development of a new generation of chips that function as neurons. This opens up new possibilities in fields such as computer science and robotics.

From 1976 to 2011, Dr. Llinás served as the chair of the Department of Physiology and Neuroscience at NYU Langone, and in 1985 was named the Thomas and Suzanne Murphy Professor of Neuroscience. He received his medical degree from the Universidad Javeriana (Bogota, Colombia) and his PhD in neurophysiology from the Australian National University (Canberra, Australia).

Dr. Llinás is a member of numerous scientific associations including 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). He also served as the chairman of NASA/Neurolab Science Working Group.

In addition to the Gold Medal from the CSIC, Dr. Llinás’s is the recipient of the Ulf von Euler Award Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, McDowall Award, King’s College London, UNESCO’s Albert Einstein medal; the Order of Boyacá of the President of the Colombian Republic; F.O. Schmitt Award, Rockefeller University, the Signoret Prize for Cognition La Salpatriere Paris, Koesler Price Zurich University, Switzerland and the Bernard Katz Award from the Biophysical Society, among others.

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