GSoC 2021 Project Idea 23.1: Re-creating the Leech Heartbeat Network Model Tutorial using the Neuron Simulator in Python and NeuroML

The Calabrese Lab 8-cell Leech Tutorial that is described by Hill et al 2001 has been a staple for teaching computational neuroscience at Emory University for many years, and it has also been used in various summer courses. This tutorial is not only a fully constructed 8-cell circuit that can generate heart rhythms, but also a great teaching tool thanks to the visual interface where a student can turn on synaptic connections or change maximal ionic conductances. However, the original tutorial has been developed using the now obsolete Genesis simulator. Unfortunately, running the Genesis simulator nowadays requires complicated software set up that prevents many non-technical students from accessing the tutorial. We had previously started porting the tutorial to a more modern format that can be executed through a web browser (see 8-cell Leech Heartbeat Network Model Tutorial), increasing the accessibility of this classic tutorial for teaching and research purposes. At this summer’s GSoC, we would like to finish this port and make the tutorial available. We selected the Neuron simulator language for running the model using NeuroML and Python as the description languages.

Skills: Neuron simulator, Python, NeuroML
Lead Mentor: Cengiz Gunay @cengique (
Backup Mentor: Padraig Gleeson @pgleeson (

Tags: computational neuroscience, NeuroML, Python, NEURON

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