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Christina L. Williams, Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

Christina L. Williams
Contact Info:
Office Location:  GSRB II Rm 3018, Box 91050, Durham, NC 27708
Office Phone:  (919) 816-5644
Email Address:   send me a message
Web Page:  

Teaching (Fall 2023):   (typical courses)

  • Gsf 278.01, Sex/gender - nature/nurture Synopsis
    Reuben-coo 126, MW 03:05 PM-04:20 PM

Ph.D.Rutgers University1981
PhDRutgers University1980

Systems and Integrative Neuroscience
Cognition and Cognitive Neuroscience
Developmental Psychology
Research Interests: Perinatal Programming of Hippocampal Plasticity, Mechanism of Hippocampal Memory, Hormones, Brain and Behavior, and Developmental Neuroscience

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.

Postdocs Mentored

  • Melissa Glenn (2006/12-present)
Representative Publications   (More Publications)   (search)

  1. Sandstrom, NJ; Loy, R; Williams, CL (2002). Prenatal choline supplementation increases NGF levels in the hippocampus and frontal cortex of young and adult rats.. Brain Research, 947(1), 9-16. [doi]  [abs]
  2. Mohler, EG; Meck, WH; Williams, CL (2001). Sustained Attention in Adult Mice is Modulated by Prenatal Choline Availability. International Journal of Comparative Psychology, 14, 136-150. (Special Issue on Behavior & Neurogenomics).
  3. Sandstrom, NJ; Williams, CL (2001). Memory retention is modulated by acute estradiol and progesterone replacement.. Behavioral Neuroscience, 115(2), 384-393. [11345963], [doi]  [abs]
  4. Montoya, DA; White, AM; Williams, CL; Blusztajn, JK; Meck, WH; Swartzwelder, HS (2000). Prenatal choline exposure alters hippocampal responsiveness to cholinergic stimulation in adulthood.. Brain Research. Developmental Brain Research, 123(1), 25-32. [11020547], [doi]  [abs]
  5. Williams, C.L. "Hormones and Cognition." Behavioral Endocrinology. Ed. Becker, J.B., Breedlove, S.M., & Crews, D. Boston, MA, MIT Press, 2002: 527-577.
  6. C.L. Williams & Mohler, E.G. "Prenatal Choline Supplementation Modifies Brain Development: Improved Cognition and Neuroprotection." Diet-Brain Connections: Impact on Memory, Aging and Disease. Ed. M. Mattson Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Academic, 2002: 1-14.

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