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, Mellott, TJ, Glenn, MJ, Blusztajn, JK, and Williams, CL. "Prenatal choline supplementation attenuates neuropathological response to status epilepticus in the adult rat hippocampus." Neurobiol Dis 30.2 (May 2008): 255-269. Full Text

Glenn, MJ, Gibson, EM, Kirby, ED, Mellott, TJ, Blusztajn, JK, and Williams, CL. "Prenatal choline availability modulates hippocampal neurogenesis and neurogenic responses to enriching experiences in adult female rats." Eur J Neurosci 25.8 (April 2007): 2473-2482. Full Text

MacDonald, CJ, Cheng, R-K, Williams, CL, and Meck, WH. "Combined organizational and activational effects of short and long photoperiods on spatial and temporal memory in rats." Behav Processes 74.2 (February 22, 2007): 226-233. Full Text

Williams, CL. "Commentary: Food for thought and for repair (Submitted)." Behavioral Neuroscience in press (2007). (Academic Article)

Cordes, S, Williams, CL, and Meck, WH. "Common representations of abstract quantities." Current Directions in Psychological Science 16.3 (2007): 156-161. Full Text

Kirby, ED, Glenn, MJ, Wong Goodrich, SJE, and Williams, CL. "Prenatal choline supplementation protects against chronic stress-induced suppression of neurogenesis and hippocampal memory impairment (Submitted)." Behavioral Neuroscience submitted (2006). (Academic Article)

McGowan, PO, Hope, TA, Williams, CL, Kelsoe, G, and Meck, WH. "DNA Recombination Activating Gene 1 (RAG1) is required for recognition memory (Submitted)." J. Neurosci. submitted (2006). (Academic Article)

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