NeuroDynamix: Computer Models for Neurophysiology, Volume 1
The transmembrane electrical potential is a critical aspect of the function of all living cells. In neurons, the dynamics of this potential are of particular importance as the basis for cell signaling. Neurodynamix simulates the dynamic properties of neurons at four levels of neuronal organization and makes the topic of bioelectricity more accessible and less intimidating to students. The modeling system provides a means for students to have access to neurophysiological methods and results by carrying out experiments. Such hands-on simulations deepen students' understanding of electrophysiological concepts and heighten their appreciation of the techniques used to study the electrical properties of cells. The models of Neurodynamix simulate physiological experiments and results dynamically; results are displayed as they are being generated by the models. Based on a highly accessible graphics interface, the computer models encourage active exploration of physiological properties through the manipulation of model parameters while the model experiments are in progress. Section I of the text provides overviews of electrical concepts, the properties of ion channels, resting and action potentials, synaptic interactions, and neuronal circuits. Each of these is followed by descriptions of modeling exercises to be carried out with the NeuroDynamix software. Exercises are designed to illustrate the concepts introduced in the text overviews. Section II provides brief descriptions of the six models incorporated into NeuroDynamix and includes glossaries for variables and parameters. Sections III and IV furnish detailed descriptions of mathematical equations for the models.
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