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nanoHUB-U: Bioelectricity

This five-week short course aims to introduce students to bioelectricity using a unique, “bottom up” approach.


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 ****New Instructor-Led Offering coming to edX, August 2015 ****


The text for this course is “Neuroscience” by Purves, et al. The text is available through the following link:

This five-week short course aims to introduce students to bioelectricity using a unique, “bottom up” approach.


Scientific Overview Video

(non-YouTube version)

Course Description

Fundamentals of bioelectricity of the mammalian nervous system. Passive and active forms of electric signaling in both intra and inter-cellular communication at the atomic, molecular, and engineered device level. Mathematical analysis including the Nernst equation, core conductors, cable theory, and the Hodgkin-Huxley Model of the action potential. Neuromodulation with nano-engineered sensors and actuators.

Course Outline

All course materials are available by selecting "Go to Course" on the right.

Week 1: Introduction to the Nervous System by Pedro Irazoqui

Week 2: Chemical Basis of Electrical Signals by Pedro Irazoqui

Week 3: Models of Biological Conductors by Pedro Irazoqui

Week 4: The Hodgkin-Huxley Model by Pedro Irazoqui

Week 5: Applications of Bioelectricity by Pedro Irazoqui

Course Objective

The objective of this course is to establish a background and to dig deeper into some of the applications of bioelectricity to medicine. Students will learn about how bioelectricity can be used to record and control the way the body electric behaves.

Who Should Take the Course?

Students who are interested in learning about relating the systems of the human body that involve or communicate with bioelectrical systems, including the heart, brain, muscles, and the neuromuscular system that connects them all together.


The prerequisites of this course are freshmen physics to understand the basics of circuits, resistors and capacitors, and differential equations to follow along with the mathematics and the derivations of the core conductor cable and the Hodgkin-Huxley equations.



Creative Commons BY License, a resource for nanoscience and nanotechnology, is supported by the National Science Foundation and other funding agencies. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.