Director, Center for Brain, Biology & Behavior; Mildred Francis Thompson Professor of Social Sciences Psychology

Dr. Savage is no longer accepting students.

Dr. Savage joined the UNL psychology faculty as part of the Clinical Program and Neuroscience and Behavior faculty in Spring 2018. He received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Oklahoma State University. From 1992-94 Dr. Savage completed a Psychiatric Neuroscience Fellowship at The Massachusetts General Hospital and from 1994-95 he completed a Fellowship in Brain Imaging at The Massachusetts General Hospital.

Dr. Savage's research examines brain health, including the neural processes underlying health behaviors - for example, staying physically active and maintaining optimal body weight and strength – and the reciprocal impact these choices have on long term brain health. The human brain is highly impacted by behavioral choices that affect overall body health yet it is also the agent of health behaviors. Healthy behaviors are in part difficult to maintain because they are less immediately gratifying and the benefits of healthy behaviors emerge over time. He is also interested in brain health broadly, including how brain activity mediates health behaviors (e.g., diet and physical activity), modifiable risk factors for dementia, and cognitive changes and recovery from brain injury (e.g., concussion, stroke).

Health Neuroscience Lab website

Dr. Savage does not plan to accept a graduate student to start in the 2022-2023 academic year. 

Select Relevant Publications (out of >130)

Martin LE, Holsen LM, Chambers RJ, Bruce AS, Brooks WM, Zarcone JR, Butler MG, Savage CR. Neural mechanisms associated with food motivation in obese and healthy weight adults. Obesity 2010; 18:254-260.

O’Neil-Pirozzi TM, Strangman GE, Goldstein R, Katz DI, Savage CR, Kelkar K, Supelana C, Burke D, Rauch SL, Glenn MB. A controlled treatment study of internal memory strategies (I-MEMS) following traumatic brain injury. Journal of Head Trauma Rehabilitation 2010; 25:43-51.

Bruce AS, Holsen LM, Chambers R, Martin L, Brooks WM, Savage CR. Obese children show hyperactivation to food pictures in brain networks associated with motivation and reward. International Journal of Obesity 2010; 34:1494-1500.

Leidy HJ, Lepping RJ, Savage CR, Harris CT. Neural responses to visual food stimuli after a normal vs. higher protein breakfast in breakfast-skipping teens: A pilot fMRI study. Obesity 2011; 19:2019-2025.

Bruce JM, Hancock L, Bruce A, Lepping RJ, Martin L, Lundgren JD, Malley S, Holson LM, Savage CR. Changes in brain activation to food pictures following adjustable gastric banding. Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases 2012; 8:602-608.

Holsen LM, Savage CR, Martin LE, Bruce AS, Lepping RC, Ko E, Brooks WM, Butler MG, Zarcone JR, Goldsetien JM. Importance of prefrontal inhibitory circuitry in hunger and satiety: The case of Prader-Willi syndrome vs. simple obesity. International Journal of Obesity 2012; 36:638-647.

Honea RA, Holsen LM, Lepping RJ, Perea R, Butler MG, Brooks WM, Savage CR. The neuroanatomy of genetic subtype differences in Prader-Willi Syndrome. American Journal of Medical Genetics: Neuropsychiatric Genetics 2012. 159B:243-253.

Bruce AS, Lepping RJ, Bruce JM, Cherry JBC, Martin LE. Davis AM, Brooks WM, Savage CR. Brain Responses to Food Logos in Obese and Healthy Weight Children. The Journal of Pediatrics 2013; 162:759-764.

Vidoni ED, Gayed MR, Honea RA, Savage CR, Hobbs D, Burns JM. Alzheimer’s alters the relationship of fitness with brain activation during the Stroop task. Physical Therapy 2013; 93: 993-1002.

Lundgren JD, Patrician TM, Breslin F, Martin L, Donnelly JE, Savage CR. Evening hyperphagia and food motivation: A preliminary study of neural mechanisms. Eating Behaviors 2013 14:447-450.

Bruce AS, Bruce JM, Black WR, Lepping RJ, Henry JM, Cherry BC, Martin LE, Papa VB, Davis AM, Brooks WM, Savage CR. Branding and a child's brain: An fMRI study of neural responses to logos. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 2014; 9:118-122.

Bruce AS, Bruce JM, Ness AR, Lepping RJ, Malley S, Hancock L, Powell J, Patrician TM, Breslin FJ, Martin LE, Donnelly JE, Brooks WM, Savage CR. A comparison of functional brain changes associated with surgical versus behavioral weight loss. Obesity 2014; 22:337-343.

Black WR, Lepping RJ, Bruce AS, Powell JN, Bruce JM, Martin LE, Davis AM, Brooks WM, Savage CR, Simmons WK. Tonic hyper-connectivity of reward neurocircuitry in obese children. Obesity 2014; 22:1590-1593.

Ness AR, Bruce J, Bruce A, Aupperle R, Lepping R, Martin L, Hancock L, Patrician T, Malley S, Selim N, Savage CR. Pre-surgical cortical activation to food pictures is associated with weight loss following bariatric surgery. Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases 2014; 10:1188-1195.

Martin LE, Cox LS, Brooks WM, Savage CR. Winning and Losing: Differences in reward and punishment sensitivity between smokers and nonsmokers. Brain and Behavior 2014; 4:915-924.

Lepping RJ, Brooks WM, Martin LE, Kirchhoff B, Kurylo M, Ladesich L, Varghese G, Savage CR. Compensatory brain activation during cued verbal encoding following traumatic brain injury. International Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation 2015; 3:254.

Lepping RJ, Bruce A, Francisco A, Yeh HW, Martin LE, Powell JN, Hancock L, Patrician TM, Breslin FJ, Selim N, Donnelly JE, Brooks WM, Savage CR, Simmons WK, Bruce JM. Resting State Brain Connectivity After Surgical and Behavioral Weight Loss. Obesity 2015; 23:1422-1428.

Martin LE, Pollack L, McCune A, Schulte E, Savage CR, Lundgren JD. Comparison of obese adults with poor versus good sleep quality during a functional neuroimaging delay discounting task: A pilot study. Psychiatry Research. 2015; 234:90-95.

Simmons WK, Burrows K, Avery J, Kerr KL, Bodurka J, Savage CR, Drevets WC. Depression-related increases and decreases in appetite reveal dissociable patterns of aberrant activity in reward and interoceptive neurocircuitry. American Journal of Psychiatry 2016; 173:418-428.

Honea RA, Szabo-Reed AN, Perea R, Breslin F, Martin LE, Lepping RJ, Brooks WM, Donnelly JE, Savage CR. Voxel-based Morphometry Reveals Brain Gray Matter Volume Changes in Successful Dieters. Obesity 2016; 24:1842-1848.

Weise CM, Paggi P, Reinhardt M, Chen K, Savage CR, Krakoff J, Pleger B. The obese brain as a heritable phenotype: A combined morphometry and twin study. International Journal of Obesity 2017; 41:458-466.

Avery JA, Powell JN, Breslin FJ, Lepping RJ, Martin LE, Patrician TM, Donnelly JE, Savage CR, Simmons KW. Obesity is associated with altered mid-insula functional connectivity to limbic regions underlying appetitive responses to foods. Journal of Psychopharmacology; in press.

Martin LE, Sisante J-F, Wilson D, Moody A, Savage CR, Billinger SA. Pilot study of endurance runners and brain responses associated with delay discounting. Journal of Exercise Science 2017; 10:690-701.

Stoeckel LE, Birch LL, Heatherton T, Mann T, Hunter C, Czajkowski S, Onken L, Berger PK, Savage CR. Psychological and neural contributions to appetite self-regulation [NIH Position Paper]. Obesity 2017; 25:S17-S25.