CNS'2020 Tutorial: Building mechanistic multiscale models, from molecules to networks, using NEURON and NetPyNE

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Brief Description:

Understanding brain function requires characterizing the interactions occurring across many temporal and spatial scales. Mechanistic multiscale modeling aims to organize and explore these interactions. In this way, multiscale models provide insights into how changes at molecular and cellular levels, caused by development, learning, brain disease, drugs, or other factors, affect the dynamics of local networks and of brain areas. Large neuroscience data-gathering projects throughout the world (e.g. US BRAIN, EU HBP, Allen Institute) are making use of multiscale modeling, including the NEURON ecosystem, to better understand the vast amounts of information being gathered using many different techniques at different scales.

This tutorial will introduce multiscale modeling using two NIH-funded tools: the NEURON simulator [1], including the Reaction-Diffusion (RxD) module [2,3], and the NetPyNE tool [4]. The tutorial will include background, examples and hands on exercises covering the implementation of models at four key scales: (1) intracellular dynamics (e.g. calcium buffering, protein interactions), (2) single neuron electrophysiology (e.g. action potential propagation), (3) neurons in extracellular space (e.g. spreading depression), and (4) networks of neurons. For network simulations, we will use NetPyNE, a high-level interface to NEURON supporting both programmatic and GUI specification that facilitates the development, parallel simulation, and analysis of biophysically detailed neuronal circuits. We conclude with an example combining all three tools that links intracellular molecular dynamics with network spiking activity and local field potentials.

Basic familiarity with Python is recommended. No prior knowledge of NEURON or NetPyNE is required, however participants are encouraged to download and install each of these packages prior to the tutorial.

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