Christina L. Williams
Professor of Psychology and 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.

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