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Center for Aerospace Physiology

Center for Aerospace Physiology


Director:  Michael J. Decker, PhD -;  216-368-2467

Scientific Faculty:  Elizabeth G. Damato, PhD -; 216-368-2597

Scientific Faculty:  Joseph C. LaManna, PhD -; 216-368-1112 and Kui Xu, MD/PhD -; 216-368-1107

Administrative Assistant:  Suzanne Foss -; 216-368-1100

Contact Email:; 216-368-2018


The “Center for Aerospace Physiology” is within the Department of Physiology & Biophysics in the School of Medicine. The collective interests and expertise comprise of multidisciplinary scientists; flight surgeons, aerospace physiologists, toxicologists and scientists at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Our researchers focus on providing answers and new strategies to enhance adaptation and augmentation of human performance for those persons living and working within austere environments.

Our partnership with scientists at Naval Medical Research Unit-Dayton (NAMRU-D) and those within the 711th wing of the United States Air Force will also provide new opportunities for students seeking research experience in Aerospace Physiology. These may consist of CWRU-based laboratory rotations, on-base internship opportunities and the option to take courses within the United States Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine (USAFSAM).

Current and recently completed research projects

Defining Traits Conferring Enhanced Performance and Resilience in Austere Environments

Naval Medical Research Unit-Dayton (NAMRU-D) - Our Center has joined efforts with NAMRU-D and established two Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Assignments to facilitate development of new research programs between WPAFB and CWRU to address emergent needs related to human performance in extreme environments. 

Hyperoxia: An Unrecognized Mechanism for Inducing “Hypoxia-Like” Symptoms

The United States Air Force 711th (USAF 711th) has also combined efforts with our Center in the study of “hypoxia-like” symptoms of “disorientation, dizziness, and fatigue.” These symptoms can occur without warning and rapidly induce cognitive dysfunction. When unnoticed during flight, the outcome can be catastrophic. Our objective is to define specific environmental and physiologic mechanisms contributing to “hypoxia-like” symptoms that have been reported during flight.

Viewing the Human Brain’s Response to Cockpit Levels of Hyperoxia

The Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) has augmented and expanded our DoD funded research.  We were awarded funds to purchase of an MRI-compatible High Density EEG system with additional components to facilitate neurocognitive testing and cardiorespiratory assessment. We will use this same technology to assess brain neuronal network activity, cerebral blood flow, cardiorespiratory status and cognitive performance during our DoD funded study. This new knowledge could lead to a paradigm shift in determining inspired oxygen requirements for pilot life support suits and occupational settings employing self-contained breathing apparatus (e.g., used by fire fighters, commercial divers, etc.).

Respiratory Assessment of F-22 Aircrew Life Support (RAALS) Gear

The United States Air Force 711th (USAF 711th) has also collaborated with our Center in a project to define: 1) the extent that aircrew life support gear influence the work of breathing during aeromedical evacuation, high speed acceleration and very high altitude environments, 2) oversee and engage in human performance studies within adverse physical environments.