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Tor Savidge, M.D.
Associate Professor, Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Tor Savidge, M.D.

Tor Savidge, M.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Internal Medicine

University of Texas Medical Branch
301 University Blvd.
Galveston, TX 77555-0655
Phone: 409.747.0240
Fax: 409.747.3084


Dr. Savidge is currently an Associate Professor in the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in the Department of Internal Medicine at The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston. Dr. Savidge earned his PhD degree in Molecular Cell Biology from the University of Cambridge, UK. He then did his postdoctoral training in the UK before assuming a faculty position at Harvard Medical School and also served as a Director of the NIH-Clinical Nutrition Research Center at Harvard for 5 years prior to joining UTMB. He has been funded by the NIH and numerous Research Foundations for his gastrointestinal work and is a recipient of several awards: a Senior Investigator Award from the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, Broad Medical Research Foundation Award, and a John S. Dunn Foundation Collaborative Research Award. Dr. Savidge is a member of several international editorial boards and is assuming the Editor-in-Chief position for the Open Gastroenterology Journal (Benham STM Publishers) from 2011-2113.

Dr. Savidge also serves on the editorial Board of Frontiers in Enteric Neuroscience, World Gastroenterology Journal, ISRN Gastroenterology, World Journal of Gastrointestinal Pharmacology and Therapeutics (WJGPT), World Journal of Experimental Medicine, and World Journal of Translational Medicine. Dr. Savidge also serves as an invited faculty member of Faculty-of-1000 Medicine, a prestigious post-publication peer review publication that advises the general scientific and medical community on important new clinical practices and scientific advances. Since 1999 Dr. Savidge has served on National Institute of Health Study Sections, Review sections for the American Gastroenterology Association, the Clinical Nutrition Research Center at Harvard, the Broad Foundation and the Research Advisory Committee at UTMB. Dr. Savidge has published over 60 articles, he has co-edited one book on Microbial Imaging and is currently editing a Special Highlights Topic on Clostridium difficile infection for the World Gastroenterology Journal where he currently serves as an Editorial Board Member.

Research Interests

Dr. Savidge has proposed the hypothesis that a failure in enteric glial cell function may contribute towards inflammation in Crohn's disease patients, a feature currently regarded as a likely primary cause for the recurrent pathology. Dr. Savidge has identified a new signaling molecule produced by enteric glial cells known as S-nitrosoglutathione (GSNO) that drastically reduces intestinal permeability and inflammation in colonic biopsies from Crohn's disease patients (Cell 93:189-201 (1998) and Gastroenterology 132: 1344-1358; 2007. This molecule is normally produced in the human colon, but in Crohn's disease patients levels are significantly diminished for unknown reasons. Dr. Savidge is currently funded by the NIH to investigate whether aberrant GSNO production translates into intestinal inflammation. Dr. Savidge's studies indicate that GSNO has a significant therapeutic potential in inflammatory bowel disease and this also forms the basis of a patent in which Dr. Savidge is the Principal Investigator. As part of Dr. Savidge's NIH grant and Broad Foundation Award, he is now actively identifying the mechanism for the protective GSNO effects on intestinal inflammation.

Dr. Savidge is also the recipient of an NIH-ITS grant (Development of novel therapeutics for Clostridium difficile infection; 1UL1RR029876-01) and an Award from the John S. Dunn Gulf Coast Consortium for Chemical Genomics Robert A. Welch Collaborative Grant Program to use his expertise of GSNO chemistry and computational methods to develop novel therapeutic compounds for intestinal inflammation. In addition to Crohn's disease, these grants focus on Clostridium difficile-induced colitis, which is the leading cause of antibiotic-associated diarrhea and colonic inflammation in the United States. As Principal Investigator of an NIH-funded multidisciplinary team at UTMB, Dr. Savidge is initiating a clinical trial to assess whether disease amelioration is evident in patients with Clostridium difficile patients using methods that he has pioneered in his laboratory. The impact of developing effective oral small molecule therapy for such an important infectious pathogen is that this would provide an inexpensive and novel treatment option for a global epidemic that threatens to become one of the major public health concerns of the 21st century.

Selected Publications

  1. Bush TG, Savidge TC, Freeman TC, Cox HJ, Cambell LA, Mucke L, Johnson MH, Sofroniew MV. Fulminant jejuno-ileitis following ablation of enteric glia in adult transgenic mice. Cell 93:189-201; 1998.
  2. Cornet A*, Savidge TC*, Cabarrocas J, Wen-Lin D, Desreumaux P, Colombel JF, Lassmann H, Liblau RS. Enterocolitis induced by autoimmune targeting of enteric glial cells: A possible mechanism in Crohn's disease. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 98:13306-13311. 2001 (* contributed equally).
  3. Savidge TC, Pan W, Newman P, O'Brien M, Anton P, Pothoulakis C. Clostridium difficile toxin B is an inflammatory enterotoxin in human intestine. Gastroenterology. 125:413-20; 2003.
  4. Savidge TC, Paul Newman P, Pothoulakis C, Ruhl A, Neunlist M, Hurst R, Sofroniew MV. Enteric glia regulate intestinal barrier function and inflammation via release of s-nitrosoglutathione. Gastroenterology 132: 1344-1358; 2007.
  5. Savidge TC, Sofroniew MV, Neunlist M. A starring role for astroglia in barrier pathologies of gut and brain. Lab Invest 87: 731-736; 2007.
  6. Hoogerwerf WA, Hellmich HL, Cornelissen G, Halberg F, Shahinian VB, Bostwick J, Savidge TC Cassone VM. Clock gene expression in the murine gastrointestinal tract: endogenous rhythmicity and effects of a feeding regimen. Gastroenterology 133: 1250-1260; 2007.
  7. Flamant M, Bourreille A, Aubert P, Coron E, Sansonetti PJ, Galmiche JP, Savidge TC, Neunlist M. Glial derived S-nitrosoglutathione is protective against human shigellosis. Gut PMID 21139062 (2010).
  8. Savidge TC (2011) S-nitrosothiol signals in the enteric nervous system: lessons learnt from big brother. Front. Neurosci. 5:31. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2011.00031

Clinical Interests

Dr. Savidge's clinical interest lies in inflammatory bowel and diarrheal diseases.

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