Christina L. Williams

Christina L. Williams

Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Rutgers University 1981


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.


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

Sandstrom, NJ, and Williams, CL. "Memory retention is modulated by acute estradiol and progesterone replacement." Behav Neurosci 115.2 (April 2001): 384-393.

Mohler, EG, Meck, WH, and Williams, CL. "Sustained Attention in Adult Mice is Modulated by Prenatal Choline Availability." International Journal of Comparative Psychology 14 (2001): 136-150. (Academic Article)

Montoya, DA, White, AM, Williams, CL, Blusztajn, JK, Meck, WH, and Swartzwelder, HS. "Prenatal choline exposure alters hippocampal responsiveness to cholinergic stimulation in adulthood." Brain Res Dev Brain Res 123.1 (September 30, 2000): 25-32.

Meck, WH, and Williams, CL. "Choline supplementation during prenatal development reduces proactive interference in spatial memory." Brain Res Dev Brain Res 118.1-2 (December 10, 1999): 51-59.

Jones, JP, Meck, WH, Williams, CL, Wilson, WA, and Swartzwelder, HS. "Choline availability to the developing rat fetus alters adult hippocampal long-term potentiation." Brain Res Dev Brain Res 118.1-2 (December 10, 1999): 159-167.

Miranda, P, Williams, CL, and Einstein, G. "Granule cells in aging rats are sexually dimorphic in their response to estradiol." J Neurosci 19.9 (May 1, 1999): 3316-3325.

Miranda, P, Williams, CL, and Einstein, G. "Aging Rat Hippocampal Dentate Granule Cells Respond to Short Term Replacement of Estradiol." The Journal of Neuroscience 19 (1999): 3316-3325. (Academic Article)

Cermak, JM, Blusztajn, JK, Meck, WH, Williams, CL, Fitzgerald, CM, Rosene, DL, and Loy, R. "Prenatal availability of choline alters the development of acetylcholinesterase in the rat hippocampus." Dev Neurosci 21.2 (1999): 94-104. Full Text

Williams, CL. "Estrogen effects on cognition across the lifespan." Horm Behav 34.2 (October 1998): 80-84. (Review) Full Text

Sandstrom, NJ, Arnold, HM, and Williams, CL. "Reactivation treatment prevents the memory-impairing effects of scopolamine in preweanling rats." Behav Neurosci 112.4 (August 1998): 909-919.