Christina L. Williams

Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Rutgers University 1981

Overview

My research uses both mouse and rat models to examine how nutrients and hormones alter the course of brain and behavioral development. For example, we find that supplementing or depleting nutrients like choline or folate from the maternal diet have long-term consequences on rats' memory function during early development, in adulthood, and into old age. Specifically, choline supplementation appears to improve memory while short periods of choline deprivations during prenatal development appears to selectively impair attentional processes. A second line of research examines the effects of estrogen and other steroid hormones on brain and memory function across the lifespan. I am interested in both early developmental effects of estrogens (that is, the development of sex differences in cognition) as well as effects of replacement estrogens after reproductive senescence. Recently our laboratory has begun to use various genetically altered strains of mice (knockouts and transgene) to examine how nutrients and hormones during development may interact with genotype to alter the development of learning and memory processes.

Expertise

Effects of nutrients and hormones on the brain, neuroscience, development, estrogen, choline

Wong-Goodrich, SJE, Pfau, ML, Flores, CT, Fraser, JA, Williams, CL, and Jones, LW. "Voluntary running prevents progressive memory decline and increases adult hippocampal neurogenesis and growth factor expression after whole-brain irradiation." Cancer Res 70.22 (November 15, 2010): 9329-9338. Full Text

McDowell, KA, Hutchinson, AN, Wong-Goodrich, SJE, Presby, MM, Su, D, Rodriguiz, RM, Law, KC, Williams, CL, Wetsel, WC, and West, AE. "Reduced cortical BDNF expression and aberrant memory in Carf knock-out mice." J Neurosci 30.22 (June 2, 2010): 7453-7465. Full Text

Lamoureux, JA, Meck, WH, and Williams, CL. "Prenatal choline availability alters the context sensitivity of Pavlovian conditioning in adult rats. (Published online)" Learn Mem 15.12 (December 2008): 866-875. Full Text

Cheng, R-K, Scott, AC, Penney, TB, Williams, CL, and Meck, WH. "Prenatal-choline supplementation differentially modulates timing of auditory and visual stimuli in aged rats." Brain Res 1237 (October 27, 2008): 167-175. Full Text

Wong-Goodrich, SJE, Glenn, MJ, Mellott, TJ, Blusztajn, JK, Meck, WH, and Williams, CL. "Spatial memory and hippocampal plasticity are differentially sensitive to the availability of choline in adulthood as a function of choline supply in utero." Brain Res 1237 (October 27, 2008): 153-166. Full Text

Williams, CL. "Food for thought: brain, genes, and nutrition." Brain Res 1237 (October 27, 2008): 1-4. Full Text

Glenn, MJ, Kirby, ED, Gibson, EM, Wong-Goodrich, SJ, Mellott, TJ, Blusztajn, JK, and Williams, CL. "Age-related declines in exploratory behavior and markers of hippocampal plasticity are attenuated by prenatal choline supplementation in rats." Brain Res 1237 (October 27, 2008): 110-123. Full Text

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