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Michael J. Decker

Michael J. Decker, PhD, RN, RRT, Diplomate American Board of Sleep Medicine Associate Professor, Nursing, Physiology and Biophysics, Case Western Reserve University

Michael Decker, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Nursing, Physiology, and Biophysics. He is a basic- and clinical scientist with formal doctoral training in systems neuroscience, having received a PhD from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He is also a Diplomat of the American Board of Sleep Medicine and maintains licensure as a Registered Nurse and Respiratory Therapist. He is former faculty member of Emory School of Medicine’s Department of Neurology and also a Scientist within the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. His laboratory’s ongoing research interests and endeavors focus upon defining physiologic, biochemical and genetic perturbations that evoke disorders of minimal brain dysfunction manifest by disorders of unremitting fatigue, hypersomnolence, executive dysfunction, impaired decision making, and an inability to respond to stress. We have defined that short-term exposure to low oxygen, acute sleep loss, or subtle, perhaps even subclinical events negatively impact structure and function within brain regions involved with risk-taking behavior, memory, and strategic responses to environmental stimuli. We have also directly participated in projects to identify genetically conferred traits that enable people to survive high altitude, low oxygen environments, including the Andean, Himalayan and Simien mountains. We employ in-vivo characterization of electroencephalographic and neurochemical activity within a variety of models emulating human disorders and environmental stressors. Our corollary gene expression studies provide insight into molecular mechanisms leading to neurochemical dysfunction while neuroanatomical studies focus upon structure-function relationships. Translational studies include preclinical evaluation of pharmaceutical compounds, Phase I-IV clinical research trials, and development and testing of new biotechnologies.


  • –present
    Michael J. Decker, PhD, RN, RRT, Diplomate ABSM Associate Professor, School of Nursing, Case Western Reserve University