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

Moffatt, S., et al. “An audit of post-operative pain and related outcomes following oesophagectomy at the leicester royal infirmary (Accepted).” International Journal of Surgery, Jan. 2018. Scopus, doi:10.1016/j.ijsu.2018.05.568. Full Text

Maurer, Sara V., and Christina L. Williams. “The Cholinergic System Modulates Memory and Hippocampal Plasticity via Its Interactions with Non-Neuronal Cells.Frontiers in Immunology, vol. 8, Jan. 2017, p. 1489. Epmc, doi:10.3389/fimmu.2017.01489. Full Text

Pedersen, Cort A., et al. “Evolutionary perspectives on the role of oxytocin in human social behavior, social cognition and psychopathology.Brain Research, vol. 1580, Sept. 2014, pp. 1–7. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2014.07.033. Full Text

Crowgey, Theresa, et al. “Relationship between exercise behavior, cardiorespiratory fitness, and cognitive function in early breast cancer patients treated with doxorubicin-containing chemotherapy: a pilot study.Appl Physiol Nutr Metab, vol. 39, no. 6, June 2014, pp. 724–29. Pubmed, doi:10.1139/apnm-2013-0380. Full Text

Aagten-Murphy, D., et al. “Novel Inversions in Auditory Sequences Provide Evidence for Spontaneous Subtraction of Time and Number.” Timing and Time Perception, vol. 2, no. 2, Jan. 2014, pp. 188–209. Scopus, doi:10.1163/22134468-00002028. Full Text

Agostino, P. V., et al. “Acquisition of response thresholds for timed performance is regulated by a calcium-responsive transcription factor, CaRF.Genes Brain Behav, vol. 12, no. 6, Aug. 2013, pp. 633–44. Pubmed, doi:10.1111/gbb.12059. Full Text

Buhusi, Mona, et al. “Impaired interval timing and spatial-temporal integration in mice deficient in CHL1, a gene associated with schizophrenia.Timing & Time Perception (Leiden, Netherlands), vol. 1, no. 1, Jan. 2013, pp. 21–38. Epmc, doi:10.1163/22134468-00002003. Full Text

Williams, C. L. “Sex differences in counting and timing.” Frontiers in Integrative Neuroscience, no. DECEMBER, Dec. 2011. Scopus, doi:10.3389/fnint.2011.00088. Full Text

Wong-Goodrich, Sarah J. E., et al. “Prenatal choline deficiency does not enhance hippocampal vulnerability after kainic acid-induced seizures in adulthood.Brain Research, vol. 1413, Sept. 2011, pp. 84–97. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.brainres.2011.07.042. Full Text

Wong-Goodrich, Sarah J. E., et al. “Water maze experience and prenatal choline supplementation differentially promote long-term hippocampal recovery from seizures in adulthood.Hippocampus, vol. 21, no. 6, June 2011, pp. 584–608. Epmc, doi:10.1002/hipo.20783. Full Text


Selected Grants

Gender and APOE genotype interact to alter immune regulated metabolism in AD awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co-Principal Investigator). 2019 to 2024

Gender and APOE genotype interact to alter immune regulated metabolism in AD awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co-Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2019

Role of Oxytocin in the Amygdala-Prefrontal Network During Social Decision-Making awarded by National Institutes of Health (Consultant). 2012 to 2014

Lifespan Effects of Choline on Stress, Memory, and Brain awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2005 to 2007

Center for Behavioral Neuroscience and Genomics awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2002 to 2004