Realistic modeling of neurons and networks: Towards brain simulation

Egidio D'Angelo, Sergio Solinas, Jesus Garrido, Claudia Casellato, Alessandra Pedrocchi, Jonathan Mapelli, Daniela Gandolfi, Francesca Prestori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Realistic modeling is a new advanced methodology for investigating brain functions. Realistic modeling is based on a detailed biophysical description of neurons and synapses, which can be integrated into microcircuits. The latter can, in turn, be further integrated to form large-scale brain networks and eventually to reconstruct complex brain systems. Here we provide a review of the realistic simulation strategy and use the cerebellar network as an example. This network has been carefully investigated at molecular and cellular level and has been the object of intense theoretical investigation. The cerebellum is thought to lie at the core of the forward controller operations of the brain and to implement timing and sensory prediction functions. The cerebellum is well described and provides a challenging field in which one of the most advanced realistic microcircuit models has been generated. We illustrate how these models can be elaborated and embedded into robotic control systems to gain insight into how the cellular properties of cerebellar neurons emerge in integrated behaviors. Realistic network modeling opens up new perspectives for the investigation of brain pathologies and for the neurorobotic field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-166
Number of pages14
JournalFunctional Neurology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Computation
  • Neuron models
  • Plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Medicine(all)


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