Associate ProfessorFrances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University
PhD, Anatomy / Neuroscience, Case Western Reserve University
BSN, Nursing, Case Western Reserve University
CRTT, Respiratory Care, California College of Health SciencesView Curriculum Vitae (pdf)
10900 Euclid Ave
Cleveland , OH 44106
Dr. Decker's training and research interest are within the realm of systems physiology and clinical research. Currently, Dr. Decker is an Associate Professor at the Case Western Reserve University Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, and maintains secondary appointments in the Departments of Physiology & Biophysics and Neurosciences within the School of Medicine.
Dr. Decker's 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. Dr. Decker's 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.
Concurrent efforts focus on defining physiologic and genetic mechanisms conferring resiliency to clinical and environmental insults, and identifying biomarkers that provide insight into potential causes of neuropathology. The Decker laboratory’s expertise includes in-vivo and in-vitro characterization of cortical network activity with high density electroencephalography (HD-EEG), assessment of neural function with neurochemical assays 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-MRI). As a member within the Case Center for Imaging Research, Dr. Decker has been able to integrate HD-EEG equipment with a 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.