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

  • Wilshin, S., Reeve, M.A., & Spence, A.J. (2020). Dog galloping on rough terrain exhibits similar limb co-ordination patterns and gait variability to that on flat terrain. Bioinspiration and Biomimetics, 16(1). doi: 10.1088/1748-3190/abb17a

  • 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. Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, 13. doi: 10.3389/fnmol.2020.00163

  • Tang, Y., Chi, Y., Sun, J., Huang, T.H., 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. Science Advances, 6(19). 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

  • 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

  • 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. Biology Letters, 15(2). doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2018.0709

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

  • Spence, A. (2018). Not just great TV — broad insights from extreme animal performance. Current Biology, 28(20), pp. R1176-R1177. Elsevier BV. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2018.09.009

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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., 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

  • 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

  • Maghsoudi, O.H., Tabrizi, A.V., Robertson, B., & Spence, A. (2017). 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

  • Maghsoudi, O.H., Hallowell, T., Tabrizi, A.V., George, S.P., Robertson, B., Short, M., Gerstenhaber, J., & Spence, A. (2017). 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

  • 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

  • Spence, A. & IEEE (2017). Gait, posture, pogo-sticks and newfangled neurogenetics: How do legged animals control their locomotion? 2017 IEEE SIGNAL PROCESSING in MEDICINE and BIOLOGY SYMPOSIUM (SPMB). Retrieved from

  • 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