Ljubiša Rakić was born on April 11th 1931. in Sarajevo in the family of teachers, father Miodrag and mother Vukosava Nikolić. He accomplished the first four years of elementary school in Sarajevo, and he studied High School and Medical Faculty in Belgrade.
During medical studies he was demonstrator and involved in research at the Institute for physiology of Medical Faculty, University of Belgrade. After graduation in 1956 he became an assistant at the Department of physiology of the Medical Faculty. In 1961 he became an Assistant Professor and latter in 1969 he was upgraded in Professor of physiology and biochemistry. Since 1971 he has been Professor of graduate studies in the filed of neurobiology at the University of Belgrade. Over several years, he was director of the Institute for Biochemistry and Head of Department of Physiology and Biochemistry at the Medical Faculty in Belgrade. In the sixties, Prof. Rakic founded the Laboratory for Neurochemistry and Neurophysiology (current Department of Neurobiology), at the Institute for Biological Research “Sinisa Stankovic” of the
University of Belgrade. Under the auspices of UNESCO and the National Institute of Health (USA), Prof. Rakic established the International Brain Research Laboratory in Kotor, Montenegro. In all these laboratories, several dozens of scientists from the former Yugoslavia and countries from all over the world (mainly from the USA and former Soviet Union) worked for more than half a century.
Prof. Rakic broaden his scientific experience at the Institute of academician P.K.Ankhin in Moscow (in 1956) and at the Institute for brain research of the University of California in Los Angeles (1961-62). Since the end of 1960s until the beginning of 1980s he was visiting professor at the University of California in Los Angeles and also at the Baylor College of Medicine in Huston during 1980s. As invited speaker he attended many international congresses of physiology, biochemistry, neurochemistry, neurology and developmental neurological sciences. He held numerous lectures as invited speaker at the universities and scientific institutes in former Soviet Union, USA, Great Britain, France, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Italy, Germany, Egypt, Israel, Libya, Albania, including all universities in former Yugoslavia.
Academician Rakic is a member of great number of scientific societies and academies in former Yugoslavia (member of Serbian Academy of Science and Art since 1974, Montenegrin Academy of Science and Art, Academy of Science and Art of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Academy of Science and Art of Kosovo) and abroad (foreign member of Academy of Science of former Soviet Union – nowadays Russian Academy of Science, New York Academy of Science, Eurasian Academy of Science, European Academy of Sciences, Art and Literature seated in Paris, of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts, headquartered in Salzburg, Academy of Sciences and Arts of the Republic of Srpskа, UNESCO’s International Brain Research Organization, Royal Medical Society, London, International societies for physiology, biochemistry, neurological sciences, neurochemistry, biological psychiatry, neuropharmacology and developmental neurology, etc.).
He is an honorary member of Society of physiologists and biochemist of former Soviet Union and British Society for Brain and Behavioral Research.
Prof. Rakic’s scientific work is dedicated to research of the central nervous system and primarily refers to investigation of neurological basis of behavior. Focusing on the research of basic neural processes – excitation and inhibition, he considers them from the multidisciplinary aspects – neurophysiological, biochemical, immunological evolutionary and molecular biological. In general, results of Dr. Rakic’s research can be divided into several fields: (1) regulatory mechanisms of excitation and inhibition in the central nervous system; (2) the biochemical organization of the CNS and neuroimmunology; (3) biological rhythms in the brain; (4) evolution biochemistry and brain physiology focusing regulatory role of the nervous system mediators in early embryogenesis; (5) behavioural and molecular bases of brain plasticity; (6) expression and regulation of genes in the CNS; (7) Characterisation of new drugs (nucleoside and nucleotide analogs) for therapeutic use in cancer and CNS; (8) cancer and gene therapy of brain tumors.
He published over 500 papers in extenso (two thirds in international scientific journals), 6 monographs abroad, 3 in the country, and he was co-author in five textbooks.
As a member of Serbian Academy of Sciences and Art during more than 38 years, he participated in many research projects and in organization of scientific meetings and he is the president of the Board for Biomedical Research. He was also the president of Joint Committee for cooperation between Council of Academy of Science and Art of former Yugoslavia and National Academy of Science of USA.