Andrew J. Spence, PhD is an Associate Professor in the Department of Bioengineering at Temple University. His research group focuses on understanding how animals (including humans) move. The Spence group takes an interdisciplinary and comparative approach to this problem, integrating biomechanical studies of moving animals with robotics and new techniques from the frontier of molecular biology (optogenetics). Prior to coming to Temple University, Dr. Spence was a tenured Lecturer (2012-2013) at the Structure and Motion Laboratory at the Royal Veterinary College, London, UK. Dr. Spence was an RCUK Academic Research Fellow at the Structure and Motion Lab (2007-2012), during which time he established a research program in the control and neuromechanics of legged locomotion, with a side-line in the evolution and biomechanics of mammalian gliding. For both of these areas Dr. Spence has a focus on developing and applying new technologies. Dr. Spence started out in the Structure & Motion Laboratory as a Postdoc with Prof. Alan Wilson (2006-2007), looking at the biomechanics of horses on varied surfaces. Before moving to the UK, Dr. Spence studied antennal mechanoreception with Prof. Eileen Hebets, and then the neuromechanics of locomotion in the PolyPEDAL Laboratory with Prof. Bob Full (2004-2006). His undergraduate degree is in Physics, from UC Berkeley (1993-1997), and his PhD thesis work, at Cornell University (1997-2003), was in the Applied and Engineering Physics Department. His thesis work was on electronic and fluidic microfabricated devices for neural interfacing, with Prof. Mike Isaacson; these devices were tested in neuroethological studies in the lab of Prof. Ron Hoy.

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

  • Vahedipour, A., Maghsoudi, O.H., Wilshin, S., Shamble, P., Robertson, B., & Spence, A. (2018). Uncovering the structure of the mouse gait controller: Mice respond to substrate perturbations with adaptations in gait on a continuum between trot and bound. Journal of Biomechanics, 78, pp. 77-86. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2018.07.020

  • Wilshin, S., Shamble, P.S., Hovey, K.J., Harris, R., Spence, A.J., & Hsieh, S.T. (2018). Limping following limb loss increases locomotor stability. Journal of Experimental Biology, 221(18). doi: 10.1242/jeb.174268

  • Maghsoudi, O.H., Vahedipour, A., Gerstenhaber, J., George, S.P., Hallowell, T., Robertson, B., Short, M., & Spence, A. (2018). Matlab software for impedance spectroscopy designed for neuroscience applications. Journal of Neuroscience Methods, 307, pp. 70-83. doi: 10.1016/j.jneumeth.2018.06.020

  • Maghsoudi, O.H., Vahedipour, A., Robertson, B., & Spence, A. (2018). Application of Superpixels to Segment Several Landmarks in Running Rodents. Pattern Recognition and Image Analysis, 28(3), pp. 468-482. doi: 10.1134/S1054661818030082

  • Maghsoudi, O.H., Tabrizi, A.V., Robertson, B., & Spence, A. (2018). Superpixels based marker tracking vs. hue thresholding in rodent biomechanics application. Conference Record of 51st Asilomar Conference on Signals, Systems and Computers, ACSSC 2017, 2017-October, pp. 209-213. doi: 10.1109/ACSSC.2017.8335168

  • Maghsoudi, O.H., Hallowell, T., Tabrizi, A.V., George, S.P., Robertson, B., Short, M., Gerstenhaber, J., & Spence, A. (2018). Impedance characterization of bipolar implantable nerve cuffs for neuroscience applications. 2017 IEEE Signal Processing in Medicine and Biology Symposium, SPMB 2017 - Proceedings, 2018-January, pp. 1-3. doi: 10.1109/SPMB.2017.8257040

  • Maghsoudi, O.H., Tabrizi, A.V., Robertson, B., & Spence, A. (2018). 3D modeling of running rodents based on direct linear transform. 2017 IEEE Signal Processing in Medicine and Biology Symposium, SPMB 2017 - Proceedings, 2018-January, pp. 1-4. doi: 10.1109/SPMB.2017.8257039

  • Wilshin, S., Haynes, G.C., Porteous, J., Koditschek, D., Revzen, S., & Spence, A.J. (2017). Morphology and the gradient of a symmetric potential predict gait transitions of dogs. Biological Cybernetics, 111(3-4), pp. 269-277. doi: 10.1007/s00422-017-0721-2

  • Wilshin, S., Reeve, M.A., Haynes, G.C., Revzen, S., Koditschek, D.E., & Spence, A.J. (2017). Longitudinal quasi-static stability predicts changes in dog gait on rough terrain. Journal of Experimental Biology, 220(10), pp. 1864-1874. doi: 10.1242/jeb.149112

  • Hsieh, S.T., Shamble, P., Wilshin, S., Hovey, K., & Spence, A.J. (2017). Spiders "limp" to achieve a more stable gait. INTEGRATIVE and COMPARATIVE BIOLOGY, 57, pp. E297-E297. Retrieved from

  • Maghsoudi, O.H., Tabrizi, A.V., Robertson, B., Shamble, P., & Spence, A. (2017). A Rodent Paw Tracker Using Support Vector Machine. 2016 IEEE Signal Processing in Medicine and Biology Symposium, SPMB 2016 - Proceedings. doi: 10.1109/SPMB.2016.7846866

  • Charles, J.P., Cappellari, O., Spence, A.J., Wells, D.J., & Hutchinson, J.R. (2016). Muscle moment arms and sensitivity analysis of a mouse hindlimb musculoskeletal model. Journal of Anatomy, 229(4), pp. 514-535. doi: 10.1111/joa.12461

  • Charles, J.P., Cappellari, O., Spence, A.J., Hutchinson, J.R., & Wells, D.J. (2016). Musculoskeletal geometry, muscle architecture and functional specialisations of the mouse hindlimb. PLoS ONE, 11(4). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0147669

  • Maghsoudi, O.H., Tabrizi, A.V., Robertson, B., Shamble, P., & Spence, A. (2016). A novel automatic method to track the body and paws of running mice in high speed video. 2015 IEEE Signal Processing in Medicine and Biology Symposium - Proceedings. doi: 10.1109/SPMB.2015.7405456

  • Charles, J., Cappellari, O., Spence, A., Wells, D., & Hutchinson, J. (2015). Developing, Testing and Optimising a Mouse Hindlimb Musculoskeletal Model. FASEB JOURNAL, 29. Retrieved from

  • Mamuneas, D., Spence, A.J., Manica, A., & King, A.J. (2015). Bolder stickleback fish make faster decisions, but they are not less accurate. Behavioral Ecology, 26(1), pp. 91-96. doi: 10.1093/beheco/aru160

  • Reeve, M.A., Wilshin, S., & Spence, A.J. (2014). Dog gait on rough terrain: When does static stability matter? INTEGRATIVE and COMPARATIVE BIOLOGY, 54, pp. E337-E337. Retrieved from

  • Byrnes, G., Spence, A.J., Martino, B., Hilt, M., & Wilson, A.M. (2014). The effects of gap distance and substrate compliance on the biomechanics of jumping in gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis). INTEGRATIVE and COMPARATIVE BIOLOGY, 54, pp. E247-E247. Retrieved from