Andrew J. Spence, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Bioengineering at Temple University. Andrew is an applied physicist by training who leads a research group in locomotor neuromechanics and spinal cord injury. As a group, the Spence Lab is focused on how the nervous and mechanical systems work together to produce movement, taking an integrative approach that combines experimental work with mathematical modeling, instrumentation, and some robotics. Andrew did his undergraduate work in physics at UC Berkeley, before doing a PhD in neuroscience and biomedical microdevices at Cornell University with Michael Isaacson and Ron Hoy. He returned to Berkeley for a postdoc, and worked with Bob Full on the control of many-legged locomotion, and Eileen Hebets on the neurophysiology of antennas. Before coming to Temple University, he was an RCUK Fellowship awardee and subsequently faculty member in the Structure and Motion Laboratory at the Royal Veterinary College, London, working with Alan Wilson before becoming an independent researcher. Currently his group is focused on applying new neurogenetic techniques (chemogenetics in the form of DREADDs; optogenetics) to 1) better treat spinal cord injuries, 2) dissect the control of fast legged locomotion, and 3) understand how constraints (stability, energetics) have shaped quadrupedal gait control.

Research Interests

  • Movement Science including Control of Locomotion, Gait Analysis, Spinal Cord Injury, Neuroprosthetics, Neuromechanics, Biomechanics, Use of Molecular Genetic Tools (Optogenetics and Chemogenetics/DREADDs
  • Robotics
  • Motor Control
  • Animal Locomotion

Courses Taught




BIOE 4431

Capstone Elective: Neuroengineering


BIOE 4441

Capstone Elective: Biomechanics


BIOE 5431



BIOE 5441



Selected Publications

  • Moukarzel, G., Rauscher, B.C., Patil, C.A., & Spence, A.J. (2022). Infrared videography of a subcutaneous knee tattoo as a simple and inexpensive method to overcome skin motion artifact in rodent kinematics. Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. doi: 10.1101/2022.08.22.504813

  • Spence, A.J., Wilshin, S.D., & Byrnes, G. (2022). The economy of terrestrial locomotion. Curr Biol, 32(12), pp. R676-R680. England. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2022.04.063

  • Vahedipour, A., Short, M.R., Timnak, A., Maghsoudi, O.H., Hallowell, T., Gerstenhaber, J., Cappellari, O., Lemay, M., & Spence, A.J. (2021). A versatile system for neuromuscular stimulation and recording in the mouse model using a lightweight magnetically coupled headmount. J Neurosci Methods, 362, p. 109319. Netherlands. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2021.109319

  • Moukarzel, G., Lemay, M.A., & Spence, A.J. (2021). A MATLAB application for automated H-Reflex measurements and analyses. Biomed Signal Process Control, 66. England. doi: 10.1016/j.bspc.2021.102448

  • Wilshin, S., Reeve, M.A., & Spence, A.J. (2021). Dog galloping on rough terrain exhibits similar limb co-ordination patterns and gait variability to that on flat terrain. Bioinspir Biomim, 16(1), p. 015001. England. doi: 10.1088/1748-3190/abb17a

  • Eisdorfer, J.T., Phelan, M.A., Keefe, K.M., Rollins, M.M., Campion, T.J., Rauscher, K.M., Sobotka-Briner, H., Senior, M., Gordon, G., Smith, G.M., & Spence, A.J. (2021). Addition of angled rungs to the horizontal ladder walking task for more sensitive probing of sensorimotor changes. PLoS One, 16(2), p. e0246298. United States. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0246298

  • Tang, Y., Chi, Y., Sun, J., Huang, T., Maghsoudi, O.H., Spence, A., Zhao, J., Su, H., & Yin, J. (2020). Leveraging elastic instabilities for amplified performance: Spine-inspired high-speed and high-force soft robots. Sci Adv, 6(19), p. eaaz6912. United States. doi: 10.1126/sciadv.aaz6912

  • Maghsoudi, O.H. & Spence, A. (2020). Treadmill Training Effect on Kinematics: An Aging Study in Rats. Journal of Medical and Biological Engineering, 40(1), pp. 11-23. doi: 10.1007/s40846-019-00490-x

  • Eisdorfer, J.T., Smit, R.D., Keefe, K.M., Lemay, M.A., Smith, G.M., & Spence, A.J. (2020). Epidural Electrical Stimulation: A Review of Plasticity Mechanisms That Are Hypothesized to Underlie Enhanced Recovery From Spinal Cord Injury With Stimulation. Front Mol Neurosci, 13, p. 163. Switzerland. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2020.00163

  • Maghsoudi, O.H., Vahedipour, A., & Spence, A. (2019). A novel method for robust markerless tracking of rodent paws in 3D. Eurasip Journal on Image and Video Processing, 2019(1). doi: 10.1186/s13640-019-0477-9

  • Maghsoudi, O.H., Vahedipour, A., & Spence, A. (2019). Three-dimensional-based landmark tracker employing a superpixels method for neuroscience, biomechanics, and biology studies. International Journal of Imaging Systems and Technology, 29(4), pp. 419-430. doi: 10.1002/ima.22317

  • Davies, Z.T.S., Spence, A.J., & Wilson, A.M. (2019). Ground reaction forces of overground galloping in ridden Thoroughbred racehorses. J Exp Biol, 222(Pt 16). England. doi: 10.1242/jeb.204107

  • Maghsoudi, O.H., Vahedipour, A., Hallowell, T., & Spence, A. (2019). Open-source Python software for analysis of 3D kinematics from quadrupedal animals. Biomedical Signal Processing and Control, 51, pp. 364-373. doi: 10.1016/j.bspc.2019.02.024

  • Davies, Z.T.S., Spence, A.J., & Wilson, A.M. (2019). External mechanical work in the galloping racehorse. Biol Lett, 15(2), p. 20180709. England. doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2018.0709