MetaNeuron: A free neuron simulation program for teaching cellular neurophysiology

Mark H. Newman, Eric A. Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


MetaNeuron, a neuron simulation program, is an effective interactive tool for teaching cellular neurophysiology. The computer program simulates a wide range of neuronal behavior in its six lessons: i) Resting Membrane Potential, ii) Membrane Time Constant, iii) Membrane Length Constant, iv) Axon Action Potential, v) Axon Voltage Clamp, and vi) Synaptic Potential. The program is designed foremost as a platform for conducting neurophysiology experiments in silico. Neuronal parameters are easily modified and a virtual stimulator injects single or double current pulses into the neuron. Phenomena such as temporal summation of synaptic potentials, passive spread of a synaptic potential from the dendrite to the soma, the refractory period, families of voltage-clamp traces, and the reversal potential of synaptic responses, are easily illustrated in MetaNeuron. Responses are displayed graphically and can be measured with a cursor. Families of traces can be generated and viewed in rotatable 3D plots. Mac and Windows versions of the program can be downloaded, free of charge, onto individual student computers from the website A manual containing operating instructions, a description of the lessons, and exercises conducted on MetaNeuron, can also be downloaded for free.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)A11-A17
JournalJournal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013


  • Action potential
  • Neuron
  • Neurophysiology
  • Simulation
  • Teaching neuroscience
  • Voltage-clamp

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