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

Williams, CL, Meck, WH, Heyer, DD, and Loy, R. "Hypertrophy of basal forebrain neurons and enhanced visuospatial memory in perinatally choline-supplemented rats." Brain Res 794.2 (June 1, 1998): 225-238.

Pyapali, GK, Turner, DA, Williams, CL, Meck, WH, and Swartzwelder, HS. "Prenatal dietary choline supplementation decreases the threshold for induction of long-term potentiation in young adult rats." J Neurophysiol 79.4 (April 1998): 1790-1796.

Reller, LB, and Weinstein, MP. "Diagnostic Microbiology Updates." Clinical Infectious Diseases 26.3 (March 1998): 741-741. Full Text

Meck, WH, and Williams, CL. "Perinatal choline supplementation increases the threshold for chunking in spatial memory." Neuroreport 8.14 (September 29, 1997): 3053-3059.

Meck, WH, and Williams, CL. "Simultaneous temporal processing is sensitive to prenatal choline availability in mature and aged rats." Neuroreport 8.14 (September 29, 1997): 3045-3051.

Meck, WH, and Williams, CL. "Characterization of the facilitative effects of perinatal choline supplementation on timing and temporal memory." Neuroreport 8.13 (September 8, 1997): 2831-2835.

Benedict, GS, and Williams, CL. "Hormonal modulation of the cutaneous initiation of lordosis in infant and adult rats." Hormones and Behavior 27.4 (1993): 449-469. Full Text

Kim, SYS, and Williams, CL. "Introduction." Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 699 (1993): XI+XII+-.

Loy, R, Heyer, D, Williams, CL, and Meck, WH. "Choline-induced spatial memory facilitation correlates with altered distribution and morphology of septal neurons." Adv Exp Med Biol 295 (1991): 373-382.

Williams, CL, and Meck, WH. "The organizational effects of gonadal steroids on sexually dimorphic spatial ability." Psychoneuroendocrinology 16.1-3 (1991): 155-176. (Review)