Eric Decker received his B.S. degree in Biology from Penn State University in 1982, his M.S. from the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Washington State University in 1985 and his PhD from the Department of Food Science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in 1988 where he was a USDA National Needs Fellow. Dr. Decker was an Assistant Professor in the Food Science Section of the Department of Animal Sciences at the University of Kentucky from 1988 to 1993 after which he joined the Department of Food Science at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst as an Associate Professor in Food Chemistry. He was named the Fergus Clydesdale Endowed Chair from 2002-2007. Dr. Decker is currently a Professor and became the Department Head of UMass Food Science in 2008.
Dr. Decker has been actively conducting research to characterize mechanisms by which lipids oxidize in heterogeneous food systems. His lab has worked extensively in the development of antioxidant technologies for food systems. As part of this research program, he has developed patented technologies to maximize the stability of bioactive lipids such as omega-3 fatty acids allowing them to be incorporated into foods at nutritionally significant levels. In addition, Dr. Decker has actively collaborated with other scientists to investigate the role of antioxidants, lipids and lipid oxidation products in the molecular basis of disease.
Dr. Decker has published over 300 peer-reviewed journal articles, reviews, co-edited books and book chapters. He has been named by ISI as one of the Most Highly Cited Scientists in the field of Agriculture. He has organized symposia and workshops on antioxidants, bioactive lipids, lipid oxidation, functional foods and the role of process foods in a healthy diet. Dr. Decker has served on numerous committees including the FDA Food Advisory Committee as well as the Institute of Medicine’s Food Forum and Nutritional Standard for Food in Schools Committee. His research has been recognized by the Institute of Food Technologist’s the Stephen Chang Award for Lipid Science, Research and Development Award and Samuel Cate Prescott Award for Young Scientist. He has also been awarded the Stephen Chang Award from the American Oil Chemist Society, the Agriculture and Food Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society’s Young Scientist Award, the International Life Science Institute’s Future Leader Award and the American Meat Science Association’s Achievement Award.