What is Neurosim?
Neurosim simulates neural activity at the cellular and small systems level. It works “off-the-shelf” and requires no programming or specialist computer know-how. Its specific purpose is to help tutors to teach, and students to understand, cellular neurophysiology. It is aimed at the undergraduate and graduate student level, but it may also provide entertainment, and perhaps some useful insights, for experienced neurophysiologists.
Neurosim is a desktop program that runs under Windows 10 or later. System administrators can also deliver it to multiple simultaneous users with programs like AppsAnywhere or by streaming from a VDI.
- Provides realistic simulations for cellular and small-network electrophysiology.
- Easy to use, no programming knowledge required.
- Intuitive, configurable interface.
- Enables simulations appropriate for multiple levels, from 1st year college to post-graduate.
- Can be used to reinforce core concepts, and to set challenges and puzzles that give users experience in experimental design, data analysis, and problem solving.
- Can simulate at multiple biological levels, including passive properties, individual ion channels, individual neurons, compartmental models of neurons and networks of neurons.
- Neurons can be integrate-and-fire and/or have full Hodgkin-Huxley formalism containing multiple ion channels with user-specified kinetics.
- Intracellular calcium concentration and calcium-dependent channels can be modelled.
- Any number of neurons can be linked with any number of synaptic connections to form a network circuit.
- Synapses can be chemical or electrical.
- Chemical synapses have fully configurable properties including conductance, equilibrium potential, facilitation, Hebbian properties and voltage-dependency.
- Electrical synapses can be non-rectifying or rectifying.
- Designed for teaching, but also a useful research-level ideas factory.
- Supported by a very extensive set of tutorials.
Latest version: v5.5.2 (released June 2023)
Neurosim Modules: A brief description of the 7 modules in Neurosim.
Suggested Use: Some ideas about how Neurosim can be used.
Gallery: Screenshots of Neurosim in action.
Information for Mac and Linux users.
Common 'How To' Tasks: How to accomplish some common tasks when using Neurosim.
Walk-through: Step-by-step guides for setting up simulations in Neurosim.
Tutorial Exercises and Demonstrations: An extensive set of classroom activities covering :
- The passive properties of neurons
- The generation and propagation of action potentials.
- Networks of neurons
- Kinetics of single ion channels.
What's New?: List of changes with each version.
Feedback: I have (obviously) done my best to ensure that the program operates correctly and that the documentation is correct, but if you come across any bugs or errors, please let me know. Also, I welcome any suggestions for improvements.
About the Author
Dr Bill Heitler recently retired from a full-time academic position at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, and is now an honorary Reader in the School of Psychology and Neuroscience at that university. He has many years of teaching experience, and has researched and published extensively in invertebrate simple-systems and cellular neuroscience.
This work has benefited enormously from the experience the author gained at the University of St Andrews. However, the university is not responsible in any way for the contents of the program, nor the documentation that accompanies it.
Contact the author.
Other resources by the author.