Matching Items (22)

libNeuroML and PyLEMS: using Python to combine procedural and declarative modeling approaches in computational neuroscience

Description

NeuroML is an XML-based model description language, which provides a powerful common data format for defining and exchanging models of neurons and neuronal networks. In the latest version of NeuroML,

NeuroML is an XML-based model description language, which provides a powerful common data format for defining and exchanging models of neurons and neuronal networks. In the latest version of NeuroML, the structure and behavior of ion channel, synapse, cell, and network model descriptions are based on underlying definitions provided in LEMS, a domain-independent language for expressing hierarchical mathematical models of physical entities. While declarative approaches for describing models have led to greater exchange of model elements among software tools in computational neuroscience, a frequent criticism of XML-based languages is that they are difficult to work with directly. Here we describe two Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) written in Python (http://www.python.org), which simplify the process of developing and modifying models expressed in NeuroML and LEMS. The libNeuroML API provides a Python object model with a direct mapping to all NeuroML concepts defined by the NeuroML Schema, which facilitates reading and writing the XML equivalents. In addition, it offers a memory-efficient, array-based internal representation, which is useful for handling large-scale connectomics data. The libNeuroML API also includes support for performing common operations that are required when working with NeuroML documents. Access to the LEMS data model is provided by the PyLEMS API, which provides a Python implementation of the LEMS language, including the ability to simulate most models expressed in LEMS. Together, libNeuroML and PyLEMS provide a comprehensive solution for interacting with NeuroML models in a Python environment.

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Date Created
  • 2014-04-23

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LEMS: a language for expressing complex biological models in concise and hierarchical form and its use in underpinning NeuroML 2

Description

Computational models are increasingly important for studying complex neurophysiological systems. As scientific tools, it is essential that such models can be reproduced and critically evaluated by a range of scientists.

Computational models are increasingly important for studying complex neurophysiological systems. As scientific tools, it is essential that such models can be reproduced and critically evaluated by a range of scientists. However, published models are currently implemented using a diverse set of modeling approaches, simulation tools, and computer languages making them inaccessible and difficult to reproduce. Models also typically contain concepts that are tightly linked to domain-specific simulators, or depend on knowledge that is described exclusively in text-based documentation. To address these issues we have developed a compact, hierarchical, XML-based language called LEMS (Low Entropy Model Specification), that can define the structure and dynamics of a wide range of biological models in a fully machine readable format. We describe how LEMS underpins the latest version of NeuroML and show that this framework can define models of ion channels, synapses, neurons and networks. Unit handling, often a source of error when reusing models, is built into the core of the language by specifying physical quantities in models in terms of the base dimensions. We show how LEMS, together with the open source Java and Python based libraries we have developed, facilitates the generation of scripts for multiple neuronal simulators and provides a route for simulator free code generation. We establish that LEMS can be used to define models from systems biology and map them to neuroscience-domain specific simulators, enabling models to be shared between these traditionally separate disciplines. LEMS and NeuroML 2 provide a new, comprehensive framework for defining computational models of neuronal and other biological systems in a machine readable format, making them more reproducible and increasing the transparency and accessibility of their underlying structure and properties.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-09-25

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Modeling the Influence of Ion Channels on Neuron Dynamics in Drosophila

Description

Voltage gated ion channels play a major role in determining a neuron's firing behavior, resulting in the specific processing of synaptic input patterns. Drosophila and other invertebrates provide valuable model

Voltage gated ion channels play a major role in determining a neuron's firing behavior, resulting in the specific processing of synaptic input patterns. Drosophila and other invertebrates provide valuable model systems for investigating ion channel kinetics and their impact on firing properties. Despite the increasing importance of Drosophila as a model system, few computational models of its ion channel kinetics have been developed. In this study, experimentally observed biophysical properties of voltage gated ion channels from the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster are used to develop a minimal, conductance based neuron model. We investigate the impact of the densities of these channels on the excitability of the model neuron. Changing the channel densities reproduces different in situ observed firing patterns and induces a switch from integrator to resonator properties. Further, we analyze the preference to input frequency and how it depends on the channel densities and the resulting bifurcation type the system undergoes. An extension to a three dimensional model demonstrates that the inactivation kinetics of the sodium channels play an important role, allowing for firing patterns with a delayed first spike and subsequent high frequency firing as often observed in invertebrates, without altering the kinetics of the delayed rectifier current.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-11-18

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Evaluation of EpiFinder App: An Epilepsy Diagnostic Tool

Description

Epilepsy is a complex neurological disease that affects one in twenty-six people. Despite this prevalence, it is very difficult to diagnose. EpiFinder, Inc. has created an app to better diagnose

Epilepsy is a complex neurological disease that affects one in twenty-six people. Despite this prevalence, it is very difficult to diagnose. EpiFinder, Inc. has created an app to better diagnose epilepsy through the use of an epilepsy focused ontology and a heuristic algorithm. Throughout this project, efforts were made to improve the user interface and robustness of the EpiFinder app in order to ease usability and increase diagnostic accuracy. A general workflow of the app was created to aid new users with navigation of the app’s screens. Additionally, numerous diagnostic guidelines provided by the International League Against Epilepsy as well as de-identified case studies were annotated using the Knowtator plug-in in Protégé 3.3.1, where new terms not currently represented in the seizure and epilepsy syndrome ontology (ESSO) were identified for future integration into the ontology. This will help to increase the confidence level of the differential diagnosis reached. A basic evaluation of the user interface was done to provide feedback for the developers for future iterations of the app. Significant efforts were also made for better incorporation of the app into a physician’s typical workflow. For instance, an ontology of a basic review of systems of a medical history was built in Protégé 4.2 for later integration with the ESSO, which will help to increase efficiency and familiarity of the app for physician users. Finally, feedback regarding utility of the app was gathered from an epilepsy support group. These points will be taken into consideration for development of patient-based features in future versions of the EpiFinder app. It is the hope that these various improvements of the app will contribute to a more efficient, more accurate diagnosis of epilepsy patients, resulting in more appropriate treatments and an overall increased quality of life.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-12

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Standard mapping protocols misestimate sex-biased gene expression

Description

There are several challenges to accurately inferring levels of transcription using RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) data, including detecting and correcting for reference genome mapping bias. One potential confounder of RNA-seq analysis results

There are several challenges to accurately inferring levels of transcription using RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) data, including detecting and correcting for reference genome mapping bias. One potential confounder of RNA-seq analysis results from the application of a standardized pipeline to samples of different sexes in species with chromosomal sex determination. The homology between the human X and Y chromosomes will routinely cause mismapping to occur, artificially biasing estimates of sex-biased gene transcription. For this reason we tested sex-specific mapping scenarios in humans on RNA-seq samples from the brains of 5 genetic females and 5 genetic males to assess how inferences of differential gene expression patterns change depending on the reference genome. We first applied a mapping protocol where we mapped all individuals to the entire human reference genome (complete), including the X and Y chromosomes, and computed differential expression between the set of genetic male and genetic female samples. We next mapped the genetic female samples (46,XX) to the human reference genome with the Y chromosome removed (Y-excluded) and the genetic male samples (46, XY) to the human reference genome (including the Y chromosome), but with the pseudoautosomal regions of the Y chromosome hard-masked (YPARs-masked) for the two sex-specific mappings. Using the complete and sex-specific mapping protocols, we compared the differential expression measurements of genetic males and genetic females from cuffDiff outputs. The second strategy called 33 additional genes as being differentially expressed between the two sexes when compared to the complete mapping protocol. This research provides a framework for a new standard of reference genome mappings to correct for sex-biased gene expression estimates that can be used in future studies.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017-05

Evolutionary perspective suggests candidate genes for variation in Turner Syndrome phenotype

Description

Tremendous phenotypic variation exists across people with Turner syndrome (45,X). This variation likely stems from differential dosage of genes on the X chromosome. X-inactivation is the process whereby all X

Tremendous phenotypic variation exists across people with Turner syndrome (45,X). This variation likely stems from differential dosage of genes on the X chromosome. X-inactivation is the process whereby all X chromosomes in excess of one are silenced. However, about 15% of the genes on the silenced X chromosome escape this inactivation and are candidates for affecting phenotype in people with Turner syndrome. In this study we take an evolutionary approach to rank candidate genes that may contribute to phenotypic variation among people with Turner Syndrome. We incorporate analysis of patterns of DNA methylation from 46,XX and 45,X individuals, and estimates of variable X-inactivation status across 46,XX individuals, with patterns of gene expression conservation on the X chromosomes across five tissues and ten species. We find that genes that escape XCI are possible candidate genes for Turner syndrome phenotype, indicated by the constant levels of expression in escape genes and inactivated genes. Variation in these genes is expected to affect phenotype when dosage is altered from typical levels.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2015-12

Modeling Biological and Optical Tools Towards Achieving Deeper Levels of Brain Stimulation using OLEDs

Description

Optogenetics presents the ability to control membrane dynamics through the usage of transfected proteins (opsins) and light stimulation. However, as the field continues to grow, the original biological and stimulation

Optogenetics presents the ability to control membrane dynamics through the usage of transfected proteins (opsins) and light stimulation. However, as the field continues to grow, the original biological and stimulation tools used have become dated or limited in their uses. The usage of Organic Light Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) in optical stimulation offers greater resolution, finer control of pixel arrays, and the increased functionality of a flexible display at the cost of lower irradiance power density. This study was done to simulate methods using genetic and optical tools towards decreasing the threshold irradiance needed to initiate an action potential in a ChR2 expressing neuron. Simulations show that pulsatile stimulation can decrease threshold irradiances by increasing the overall duration of stimulus while keeping individual pulse durations below 5 ms. Furthermore, the redistribution of Channelrhodopsin-2 (ChR2) to the apical dendrites and a change in wavelength to 625 nm both result in lower threshold irradiances. However, the model used has many discrepancies and has room for improvement in areas such as the light distribution model and ChR2 dynamics. The simulations run with this model however still present valuable insight and knowledge towards the usage of new stimulation methods and revisions on existing protocols.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016-05

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Fixational Eye Movement Correction of Blink-Induced Gaze Position Errors

Description

Our eyes move continuously. Even when we attempt to fix our gaze, we produce “fixational” eye movements including microsaccades, drift and tremor. The potential role of microsaccades versus drifts in

Our eyes move continuously. Even when we attempt to fix our gaze, we produce “fixational” eye movements including microsaccades, drift and tremor. The potential role of microsaccades versus drifts in the control of eye position has been debated for decades and remains in question today. Here we set out to determine the corrective functions of microsaccades and drifts on gaze-position errors due to blinks in non-human primates (Macaca mulatta) and humans. Our results show that blinks contribute to the instability of gaze during fixation, and that microsaccades, but not drifts, correct fixation errors introduced by blinks. These findings provide new insights about eye position control during fixation, and indicate a more general role of microsaccades in fixation correction than thought previously.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2014-10-21

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Data-driven Modeling of TRPM8 Ion Channel Kinetics

Description

Ion channels in the membranes of cells in the body allow for the creation of action potentials from external stimuli, allowing us to sense our surroundings. One particular channel, TRPM8,

Ion channels in the membranes of cells in the body allow for the creation of action potentials from external stimuli, allowing us to sense our surroundings. One particular channel, TRPM8, is a trans-membrane ion channel believed to be the primary cold sensor in humans. Despite this important biological role and intense study of the channel, TRPM8 is not fully understood mechanistically and has not been accurately modeled. Existing models of TRPM8 fail to account for menthol activation of the channel. In this paper we re-implement an established whole cell model for TRPM8 with gating by both voltage and temperature. Using experimental data obtained from the Van Horn lab at Arizona State University, we refined the model to represent more accurately the dynamics of the human TRPM8 channel and incorporate the channel activation through menthol agonist binding. Our new model provides a large improvement over preexisting models, and serves as a basis for future incorporation of other channel activators of TRPM8 and for the modeling of other channels in the TRP family.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019-05

An Exploration of Ultimate Culture

Description

The sport of Ultimate, formerly known as Ultimate Frisbee™, spread around the world in the mid-seventies and was considered an alternative sport that embraced a more casual atmosphere than other

The sport of Ultimate, formerly known as Ultimate Frisbee™, spread around the world in the mid-seventies and was considered an alternative sport that embraced a more casual atmosphere than other traditional, competitive sports. Ultimate is now receiving national and international attention as a competitive sport, with broadcasts of games on networks such as ESPN. As it transitions into a mainstream sport while attempting to maintain its alternative roots, it is possible that there are contrasting opinions between those who want to bring it further into the mainstream and those who want to maintain as much as possible of the original, alternative culture. In this work, we surveyed members of the Ultimate community for their perspectives on the unique culture of Ultimate.
Because the Ultimate community considers itself to be progressive, despite its largely Caucasian makeup, one topic of exploration was the political landscape of the Ultimate community. A second unique aspect of ultimate is the system for enforcing rules used by the players on the field, known as the spirit of the game. This system replaces referees and creates an ethical dynamic both during play and within the community that is not found in other sports. The last major topic of study here is the self-perception of the players as athletes. Because Ultimate continues to maintain a reputation as an alternative sport, athletes may perceive themselves differently than in more established sports.
When asked if Ultimate players perceived the Ultimate community as accepting of athletes who are people of color (POC) or members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender community (LGBT), the community reported being accepting of all minorities. However, acceptance of POC athletes was rated significantly lower than the acceptance of LGBT athletes. When asked about comradery, the respondents rated comradery higher within the Ultimate community than in other sports. When asked how impartial players were in Ultimate compared to other sports, players with more experience tended to report perceiving themselves as more impartial. All demographics reported being more impartial in Ultimate than in other athletics. When asked about the seriousness of Ultimate, those who had not played another sport considered Ultimate to be more serious than those who had played another sport. In addition, players with more years of Ultimate experience also considered it to be more serious than those with fewer years of experience. Overall, additional studies on Ultimate culture are needed in order to obtain more viewpoints, as there is a lack of research in this field for comparison.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2019-05