The Spence group circa May 2019, and members of the Spence, Smith, and Lemay labs having a joint group meeting (with axes).

News! We have 2 postdoctoral positions available in neuroscience — adaptation of internal motor copy circuits for recovery after spinal cord injury. Funded by the NIH, this project will seek to determine whether a neuronal pathway that is normally associated with an error correction motor control function undergoes rehabilitative adaptation after spinal cord injury to compensate for loss of function in the cortico-spinal tract (CST). See flyer here, or email email Andrew Spence or George Smith.

For information on the Bionic Human GenEd Course for which I am Course Director, please click here.

I am an Associate Professor in neuromechanics. I lead a research group within the Department of Bioengineering
at Temple University in Philadelphia.

As a group we are interested in how and why animals move. Evolution has produced animals with breath-taking abilities. Legged animals gallop, climb, and jump through complex, uncertain environments. Arboreal animals climb, leap, glide, and fly through the forest canopy. We are challenged with discovering the mechanisms by which animals achieve these feats, and the selective pressures that have shaped them. If we can discover the general principles of how biological systems move, then we can advance both biology and medicine, whilst inspiring new technology.

In recent years, we have gotten excited about more applied work, using genetic tools to aid in neuromuscular injuries and disorders. In ongoing work we are using chemogenetics tools (DREADDs) to modulate afferent feedback, hoping to improve recovery from spinal cord injury, and discover how treatments like epidural electrical stimulation (EES) work. This work is in collaboration with Profs. Michel Lemay in BioE and George Smith at Temple Neuroscience.

We take an integrative approach. In the words of Karl Popper, we are students of problems, not disciplines. There is no reason to think the best tools to solve a given problem will come from within one discipline. Further, we strive to integrate across length scales to give more accurate understanding, and to tightly integrate theory and experiment.

I am fortunate to work with, and am continuously learning from, many hard working undergraduates, PhD students, and postdocs. They, combined with generous and supportive mentors, make science fun!

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