OpenWorm: Overview and recent advances in integrative biological simulation of Caenorhabditis elegans

Gopal P. Sarma, Chee Wai Lee, Tom Portegys, Vahid Ghayoomie, Travis Jacobs, Bradly Alicea, Matteo Cantarelli, Michael Currie, Richard Gerkin, Shane Gingell, Padraig Gleeson, Richard Gordon, Ramin M. Hasani, Giovanni Idili, Sergey Khayrulin, David Lung, Andrey Palyanov, Mark Watts, Stephen D. Larson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


The adoption of powerful software tools and computational methods from the software industry by the scientific research community has resulted in a renewed interest in integrative, large-scale biological simulations. These typically involve the development of computational platforms to combine diverse, process-specific models into a coherent whole. The OpenWorm Foundation is an independent research organization working towards an integrative simulation of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, with the aim of providing a powerful new tool to understand how the organism's behaviour arises from its fundamental biology. In this perspective, we give an overview of the history and philosophy of OpenWorm, descriptions of the constituent sub-projects and corresponding open-science management practices, and discuss current achievements of the project and future directions. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue 'Connectome to behaviour: modelling C. Elegans at cellular resolution'.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20170382
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1758
StatePublished - 2018


  • Bioinformatics
  • Biological simulation
  • Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Computational neuroscience
  • Computational physiology
  • Software engineering

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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