Date of Award

6-2014

Degree Name

MS in Biomedical Engineering

Department

Biomedical and General Engineering

Advisor

Robert Szlavik, Ph.D.

Abstract

There have been many different studies performed in order to examine various properties of neurons. One of the most important properties of neurons is an ability to originate and propagate action potential. The action potential is a source of communication between different neural structures located in different anatomical regions. Many different studies use modeling to describe the action potential and its properties. These models mathematically describe physical properties of neurons and analyze and explain biological and electrochemical processes such as action potential initiation and propagation. Therefore, one of the most important functions of neurons is an ability to provide communication between different neural structures located in different anatomical regions. This is achieved by transmitting electrical signals from one part of the body to another. For example, neurons transmit signals from the brain to the motor neurons (efferent neurons) and from body tissues back to the brain (afferent neurons). This communication process is extremely important for a being to function properly.

One of the most valuable studies in neuroscience was conducted by Alan Hodgkin and Andrew Huxley. In their work, Alan Hodgkin and Andrew Huxley used a giant squid axon to create a mathematical model which analyzes and explains the ionic mechanisms underlying the initiation and propagation of action potentials. They received the 1963 Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine for their valuable contribution to medical science. The Hodgkin and Huxley model is a mathematical model that describes how the action potential is initiated and how it propagates in a neuron. It is a set of nonlinear ordinary differential equations that approximates the electrical characteristics of excitable cells such as neurons and cardiomyocytes.

This work focuses on modeling the Hodgkin and Huxley model using MATLAB extension - Simulink. This tool provides a graphical editor, customizable block libraries, and solvers for modeling and simulating dynamic systems. Simulink model is used to describe the mechanisms and underlying processes involved in action potential initiation and propagation.

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