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Principle Investigator

Dr. Andrew Spence

After an undergraduate degree in physics at UC Berkeley, I moved to Ithaca, New York, to do a PhD at Cornell University in Applied and Engineering Physics. My thesis work was on microfabricated devices for biomedical engineering with Prof. Mike Isaacson, but at Cornell I became enthralled with the worlds of neurobiology and neuroethology through working in the lab of Prof. Ron Hoy.

Prior to coming the RVC, I went back to UC Berkeley as a postdoc, first studying antennal mechanoreception with Prof. Eileen Hebets, and then the neuromechanics of locomotion in the PolyPEDAL Laboratory with Prof. Bob Full, where the appeal of neuroethology turned into an addiction when I discovered the field of biomechanics. At the RVC, I found that vertebrates are pretty cool after all, and that their macroevolution turns out to have been pretty darn interesting. I started out in the Structure & Motion Laboratory as a Postdoc with Prof. Alan Wilson, looking at how horses handle different surfaces, and using them to examine the limits to maximum performance in legged animals. In 2007 I was awarded an RCUK Research Fellowship, which is a tenure-track, research focused award that provides a stable transition from postdoc to tenure-track faculty.

In November 2013 we made the move back to the US: I took up a faculty position in the Department of Bioengineering at Temple University in Philadelphia. The move is an exciting opportunity to set up group dedicated to tackling both the big scientific questions in neuromechanics and the engineering challenges that are required to answer them.


I thoroughly enjoy teaching, mentoring, and learning from students at all stages of their careers. I’m particularly interested in inquiry based learning, based on principles from the Perry and Nelson framework of cognitive development. I believe that confronting students with the difficulty of making discoveries in a laboratory setting is an avid stimulator of mental growth, and is one of the best ways to promote higher level thinking.

My CV can be downloaded here.

My PhD thesis can be downloaded here.

Contact information:
Andrew Spence
Department of Bioengineering
College of Engineering
Temple University
1947 N. 12th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
Phone: +1 215-204-3056

Post Doc

Kathy Keefe

Kathy is interested in neuroregeneration broadly and is currently employing an array of new locomotor analysis techniques in our spinal cord injury studies in rats. She did her PhD with our long-time collaborator George Smith, and came on board as our amazing Shriner’s project postdoc. And she is a formally trained opera singer!

Contact information:

P.h.D. Students

Jaclyn Eisdorfer

George Moukarzel

Graduate Students


Under Graduate Students

Gabby Gordon

Hannah Sobotka/Briner

Michelle Joyce

Mollie Senior

Susan Oldfield

See our Previous Members Here!