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Editor’s Choice: Miguel Llinás—Teacher, Mentor, Inspirational Researcher

We have been honored to recognize several renowned scientists who have recently passed away in special topics issue of the Journal: a Nobel Laureate and another ‘giant’ who was probably overlooked for the Nobel Prize. While the latter two people had large research groups and collaborators, there are many outstanding scientists and mentors who have fostered smaller groups of students and had remarkable qualities that inspired them to excel on their own.

This special memorial issue contains reminiscences of Miguel Llinás as a mentor, teacher, friend, how he catalyzed his colleague’s research, as well as original articles.

Miguel Llinás was born in Córdoba, Argentina on October 16, 1938. He entered the National University of Córdoba, completed an undergraduate degree in physics in 1963, and got a doctorate degree in biophysics from the University of California at Berkeley in 1971. He worked at the Institut für Molekularbiologie und Biophysik, the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich. Since 1976 to 2014 he taught and did research at the Department of Chemistry, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. In 2007 Llinás was elected a member of Argentina's National Academy of Sciences. His writings include more than a hundred scientific publications. Llinás’ research focused largely on structural and functional characterization of the blood coagulation protein plasminogen and evolutionary related proteins. Also noteworthy are his contributions to the development of algorithms for protein NMR structure elucidation. Miguel Llinás passed away on June 28, 2020. He is survived by his four children, three grandchildren, and his former wife, as well as two sisters in Argentina.

As a scientist he was inspirational to me as extremely knowledgeable about proteins in the clotting pathways, one of my research interests as well. We spend many a time on NIH study sections and during several visits to Pittsburgh. We were co-authors on a paper relating to the NMR structure of crambin [1].

The first article is from a collaborator, Laszlo Patthy, on the Structure of the Kringle Fold. Next, his son, Manuel Llinás, who followed in his father’s footsteps and established his own research career, writes on The Kringle of Life. This is followed by reminiscences from PhD students, In-Ja Byeon, Juliette Lecomte, and Chih-Kao Hu & his brother Tom Hu about their time in his group and how he was instrumental in their eventual careers.


  1. 1.

    Vermeulen JAWH, Lamerichs RMJN, Berliner LJ, DeMarco A, Llinas M, Boelens R, Alleman J, Kaptein R (1987) 1-H NMR characterization of two crambin species. FEBS Lett 219:626–630

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Correspondence to Lawrence J. Berliner.

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Berliner, L.J. Editor’s Choice: Miguel Llinás—Teacher, Mentor, Inspirational Researcher. Protein J 40, 449 (2021).

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