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

Hall, WG, and Williams, CL. "Suckling Isn't Feeding, or Is It? A Search for Developmental Continuities." Advances in the Study of Behavior 13.C (1983): 219-254. Full Text

Pedersen, PE, Williams, CL, and Blass, EM. "Activation and odor conditioning of suckling behavior in 3-day-old albino rats." Journal of Experimental Psychology: Animal Behavior Processes 8.4 (1982): 329-341. Full Text

Williams, CL, Hall, WG, and Rosenblatt, JS. "Changing oral cues in suckling of weaning-age rats: Possible contributions to weaning." Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology 94.3 (1980): 472-483. Full Text

Williams, CL, Rosenblatt, JS, and Hall, WG. "Inhibition of suckling in weaning-age rats: a possible serotonergic mechanism." Journal of Comparative and Physiological Psychology 93.3 (1979): 414-429.

Nock, B, Williams, CL, and Hall, WG. "Suckling behavior of the infant rat: Modulaton by a developing neurotransmitter system." Pharmacology, Biochemistry and Behavior 8.3 (1978): 277-280.

McGill, TE, Albelda, SM, Bible, HH, and Williams, CL. "Inhibition of the ejaculatory reflex in B6D2F1 mice by testosterone propionate." Behavioral Biology 16.3 (1976): 373-378. Full Text

Kristal, MB, and Williams, CL. "The effects of strain, reproductive condition, and strain of placenta donor on placentophagia in nonpregnan mice." Physiological Psychology 1.4 (1973): 354-356.