Dr. Decker's training and research interest are within the realm of systems neuroscience and clinical research. His laboratory’s ongoing basic science research is focused upon defining neurochemical, structural and functional impairments attributable to hypoxic insults arising from either intrinsic physiologic or environmental conditions. The lab provided the first published description that postnatally occurring hypoxic insults induce increased sequestering of dopamine within the vesicular monoamine transporter. The lab also reported additional structural changes within the dopaminergic system including increased levels of Dopamine D1 receptors and apoptosis with the substantia nigra pars compacta and ventral tegmental areas. The lab's findings of enhanced responsiveness to novelty, diminished working memory, and hyperactivity coupled with enhanced somnolence provided new insight into symptoms and other outward manifestations of perturbed dopaminergic function.
Dr. Decker's laboratory’s basic and clinical science expertise includes in-vivo and in-vitro characterization of cortical network activity with electroencephalography, assessment of neural function with using assays which including immunohistochemistry and in-vivo microdialysis, and characterization of neuroanatomical structure at the subcellular level (using electron microscopy) to the whole organ level (using magnetic resonance imaging. As a member within the Case Center for Imaging Research, the laboratory has been able to integrate its HD-EEG equipment with its Siemen’s Skyra 3T scanner, making it one of the few centers in the country with capabilities to simultaneously collect EEG within an MRI scanner.