Curriculum Vita, Carl P. Spirito

carlo I have been a Professional Scientist since 1965, and was a Physiology Professor at the University of New England for 27 years. I teach Human Physiology to medical and graduate health science students.

In my research, I have studied mechanisms of Locomotion (walking) in animals. My approach is derived from the interplay between Neuroethology and Robotics and especially walking robots.

For a sample of my research interests, take a look at this FEATURE ARTICLE
in our local Newspaper.

Born; Hartford, Connecticut, USA ( April 7, 1941); Graduated, Farmington High School (1959); married - Dorinne Boisseau (1964); children - Philip (1965), Rebecca (1968), Paul (1970)

B.S. Central Connecticut State College, New Britain (1965); Majors in Biology and Math
Ph.D. University of Connecticut, Storrs (1969); Bioengineering/Comparative Neurophysiology
Post-Doctoral Training; Institute for Quantitative Biology, Univ. of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida (1969-70); Neural Control of Posture and Locomotion


University of Virginia, Charlottesville; 1970-76; Assistant Professor of Biology
Ohio University, Athens; 1976-79; Associate Professor of Zoology and Biomedical Sciences
University of New England, Biddeford; 1979- Associate Professor of Physiology; 1979- 2007 (Tenured 1986)
Chairperson, Dept. of Physiology; 1983-1988
Director, MS - Nurse Anesthesia Program; 1988-1993
Director, School of Nurse Anesthesia; 1993-2000


Undergraduate College Level; (11 years) courses in Biology, Neurophysiology, and Animal Behavior. Curriculum Design and Implementation.

Medical School Level; (20 years) several courses and team-teaching in Physiology, Student Advising, and Organ System Course Direction.

Graduate School Level; (23 years) courses in Human, Comparative and Invertebrate Physiology, Animal Behavior, Research Methods, Biology Seminars, 
Advising and Supervision: Several MS and PhD Graduate Student Research. Spent 3 years as Graduate Department Chairperson (Ohio University).

(additional details available on request)


Graduate Chairperson, Dept. of Zoology; 1977-79
Interim Associate Dean for Basic Sciences, 1983-84
Chairperson, Dept. of Physiology; 1983-88
Program Director, Master of Science - Nurse Anesthesia; 1988-93
Director, School of Nurse Anesthesia; 1993-2000

Faculty Representative to University Board of Trustees; 1979-85
College of Medicine Research Committee, Chairperson; 1981-83
University Computer Resource Committee, Chairperson; 1983-89
Faculty Senate Academic Computing Committee, 1991- Chairperson; 1999-
University Faculty Promotion and Tenure Committee, Chairperson, 1992-94
University Information Technology Policy Committee, 1994-
University Strategic Planning Committee; 1996-98
College of Health Professions, Dean Search Committee, Chairperson, 1998-99
University Feasibility Study Committee for College of Pharmacy, Chairperson, 1998-99

Other University and College Committees; Bylaws, Tenure Policy, Curriculum, Budget and Finance, Student Advising, Graduate Studies, Etc.


Sigma Xi President's and Visitors' Research Prize in Science and Mathematics; 1972, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia. Awarded for my research work in comparative invertebrate locomotion.

CPCS College Award for Outstanding Leadership and Service to UNE and its Students; May, 1994; University of New England, Biddeford, Maine. Awarded in recogniton of 14 years of Teaching, Administration, and Service to the University and its students.


My scholarly activity has been in two related areas, both based on my graduate and postgraduate training in Comparative Physiology, Computer Science, and Bioengineering (the application of engineering principles to biological research problems). The Physiological and Behavioral study of the neural control of locomotion and and other coordinated movement in animals has always been the dominant theme, supplemented by computer simulations, used as modeling tools. Recently, I have been exploring the field of Robotics, particularly walking autonomous robotis, as a modeling tool to enhance my study of locomotion.

Both of these activities continue to share my interest, and I recently completed a sabbatical leave at the University of Genova, Italy, in the Laboratory of Informatics and Advanced Robotics (LIRA). There, I learned a great deal about Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, and collaborated on the design and study of robots with Professor Giulio Sandini and his group. My role was to provide a "biological" perspective for a team of computer scientists and engineers, focused primarily on visual tracking, and visually guided movements of robotic limbs.

Throughout my career, I have also pursued an interest in the development of specialized commercial computer/video technology for use in biological and medical research applications. This work has resulted in the marketing of two commercial systems. Below are listed some of my accomplishments in these areas.


Areas of Interest:
Neural Control of Invertebrate Posture and Movement.
Comparative Biomechanics and Neuroethology of Locomotion.
Robotics and Simulation.

Sponsorships and Funding:
NIH predoctoral traineeship 1965-69
NIH postdoctoral traineeship 1969-70
NIMH Research Grants 1973-75, 1975-76
NSF Research Grant 1977-79

Thesis/Dissertation Major Advisor for 3 M.S. students and 1 Ph.D. student.
Associate Research Advisor for several other graduate students

Society Membership:
American Society of Zoologists
Society for Neuroscience
International Society for Neuroethology


Formal Training
Graduate level courses in electrical and mechanical engineering, systems theory, biomedical instrumentation, math, and computer programming. My Ph.D. dissertation included the design of an analog electronic simulation of the crustacean limb nerve-muscle system.

Related Skills and Experience:
FORTRAN programming on IBM 360/370 systems
CSMP (Continuous Systems Modeling Program), for simulation studies
VISUAL BASIC and assembly language programming, on micro-computers
"C" and Pascal Language programming in graphics and image analysis

Major Projects:
Private Consulting (1981- ): Projects for both Scientific (Bigelow Laboratory, The Smithsonian Institution, several Universities, the New England Aquarium) and Industrial (GTE-Sylvania, Sprague Electric, Costar-Nucleopore) clients on the use of video/computer image analysis in research and quality control.

Scientific Image Analysis Systems (1983-): designed and developed two distinct computerized video image analysis systems for use in biological, industrial, and medical research. I wrote the software (Copyrighted) and helped to design and integrate custom hardware.

University Computer Resource Committee (1984-88): As chairperson of this committee, I directed a complete review and analysis of computer needs on campus. A plan was developed,several bids were processed, and a Data General computer system was purchased, which is still in operation after several upgrades. This system operates all aspects of financial and student record-keeping for the University.


Spirito, C.P. (1969) Neural Control of the Opener and Stretcher Muscles of the Fiddler Crab, Uca pugnax. Zeit. fur Vergl. Physiol. 68:211-228

Spirito, C.P., W.H. Evoy, and W.J.P. Barnes (1972) Nervous Control of Walking in the Crab I. Resistance Reflexes. Zeit. fur Vergl. Physiol. 76:1-15

Barnes, W.J.P., C.P. Spirito, and W.H. Evoy (1972) Nervous Control of walking in the Crab. II. Reflexes in Walking. Zeit. fur Vergl. Physiol. 76:16-31

Spirito, C.P., W.H. Evoy, and C.R. Fourtner (1973) Considerations of Proprioception and Neuromuscular Integration in Crustacean Locomotion. American Zoologist 13:427-434

White, A.Q. and C.P. Spirito (1973) Anatomy and Physiology of the Swimming Leg Musculature of the Blue Crab, Callinectes sappidus. Marine Behavior and Physiology 2:141-153

Spirito, C.P. (1975) The Organization of the Crayfish Oesophogeal Nervous System. J. Comp. Physiol. 102:237-249

Spirito, C.P. and D.L. Mushrush (1979) Interlimb Coordination During Slow Walking in the Cockroach. I. Effects of Substrate Alterations. J. Exper. Biol. 78:233-243

Greene, S.I. and C.P. Spirito (1979) Interlimb Coordination During Slow Walking in the Cockroach. II. Effects of CNS Lesions. J. Exper. Biol. 78:245-253

Earnhardt, J.T., R. Bessete, and C.P. Spirito (1985) Postural and Neurochemical Correlates: Serotonin J. Amer. Osteopathic Assn. 85:108-109

Koester, D. and C.P. Spirito (2003) Punting: An Unusual Mode of Locomotion in the Little Skate. Copeia 2003(3): 553-561
Spirito, C.P., Comparative Biomechanics of the Walking Legs in Crabs. (in Manuscript)


Spirito, C.P. (1983-86) The IDEAS Commercial Image Processing System. A complete, commercial, Personal Computer Graphics/Video system marketed and sold by Fredrick Haer Instrument Co. I wrote and Copyrighted all Software, and co-designed special hardware. The system was demonstrated and sold at the Society for Neuroscience Convention (1983-86). Overall, 20 systems were sold (at $12,000 ea.) to Universities and Research Centers such as Harvard University, the University of Chicago, University of Connecticut, etc.

Spirito, C.P. (1989-93) dVS - A digital Video System. An original commercial system for combining Video and Computer Gaphics on a Personal Computer. I designed the integrated hardware system and wrote Copyrighted Software. The system is used to make rapid accurate measurements from microscopic or other video images.It was marketed and sold by Precision Graphics Systems, my own consulting company. Systems were sold for Research (e.g. Bigelow Laboratory, Smithsonian Institution, Univ. Massachusettes, U.S. Forestry Service, James Madison Univ.) and Industrial use (Sprague Electric, GTE, Costar-Nucleopore).


Sabbatical Leave: University of Georgia (1986) The development of a Computerized Patient Simulator for use in medical education. I collaborated on research, development and testing of this software, called "PROF", which was a text-based patient simulator for use in testing medical students. My sponsor was Dr. A. Abdulla; University of Georgia Medical Center, Augusta.

Sabbatical Leave: University of Genova, Italy (1997) The design and study of autonomous robots with Professor Giulio Sandini and his group in the Laboratory of Integrated and Advanced Robotics (LIRA Lab). I provide a "biological" perspective for a team of computer scientists and engineers, studying the motor-control of robotic limbs, and robot vision.

"Invertebrate Neuromuscular Systems", (1972). American Society of Zoologists International Symposium, State College, PA. (invited participant)

"Age Related Changes in Avian Neuromuscular Interactions", (1977-79). Co-investigator on NSF Research Grant with Dr. Robert Hikida, Ohio University.

Summer Osteopathic Research Conference, (1979-83). Developer and coordinator of annual Conference of Scientists and Physicians interested in research and theory related to Osteopathic Manipulation, Diagnosis, and Therapy.

"Symposium on Computer Applications in Medicine", (1986). invited participant for symposium sessions on Computer Imaging applications in Medicine.

Electronic Imaging International Conference, (1986-present). Participate in Discussion Groups on computer/video imaging in science and medicine.

"The Blue Crab", (1988). An educational videotape produced by Dr. Taylor Schoettle, University of Georgia, for use biology and ecology courses. I was invited to serve as locomotion and behavior advisor, and supplied my own extensive film footage for use in the videotape.

National Science Foundation Grant Reviews (1979-91) I serve as an outside reviewer for 2-5 major proposals annually, in the areas of locomotion, robotics, and comparative neurophysiology.


School Board Member, Saco, Maine, USA (1981-82)
Finance Committee, Arts Reachout Team in Saco (ARTS) (1983-85)
Member, Saco Drug and Alcohol Abuse Task Force (1988)
Thornton Academy, Private Secondary School, Saco, Maine, USA Board of Trustees, (1986-92)
Chair, Long-Range Planning Committee, (1987-92)
Unitarian Universalist Church of Saco-Biddeford, Maine (Member 1987- ) Board of Trustees, (1989-93, 2002- 2006)
Long Range Planning Committee, (1995-96)


Railroad History, Restoration, and Scale Model Building:
Charter Member, Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad and Museum, Portland, Maine, 1992-94
Member, Wiscasset, Waterville, and Farmington Railroad Museum, Alna, Maine, 1994-

Fine-scale Modelbuilder; accurate fine-scale models of historically significant Narrow Gauge Railroads, Architecture, and Vehicles.

Sculptor of human figures and other items to exact scale. Some of these pieces are used by manufacturers as master patterns for commercial castings.

A Sample of Avocation-Related Publications:

Spirito, C.P. (1977) Eastern Logging - A New Frontier. Narrow Gauge and Shortline Gazette. January, 1977: 30-31

Spirito, C.P. (1981) Observations - Fear of Shining. Railroad Model Craftsman. July, 1981: 126-127

Spirito, C.P. (1988) Cover Photo Narrow Lines, Journal of the Narrow Gauge Railway Society, London, England

Spirito, C.P. (1993) Modifying a 1:20 Scale Caboose Kit Outdoor Railroader. December, 1993:

Spirito, C.P. (1994) Kitbashing a Bachmann Porter Locomotive to 1:20 Scale. Outdoor Railroader. December, 1994: 78-80

Spirito, D.B. and C.P. (1995) Fresh Cuttings; a Southern Maine Garden Railway. Garden Railways. May-June, 1995: 28-29

Spirito, C.P. (1999) Sculpting Scale Figures for Garden Railways. Garden Railways. March-April, 1999: 72-78

Spirito, C.P. (2000) Introduction to 7/8" Scale Garden Railways. Garden Railways. January-February, 2000: 72-78

Spirito, C.P. (2002) Two Crickets Grow Up, Finescale Railroader, March, 2002: 40-42
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