Professor of Psychology
184 Gilmer Hall
Wed: 11:00-12:30 and 3:00-4:30
My lab is involved in creating novel behavioral and cognitive protocols to train standard laboratory rodents and African Gambian rats to detect target scents associated with explosive odorants using automated methods. We design computer-automated instrumental learning techniques in training rodent species to become efficient bio-detectors of explosives odorants or a wide range of hazardous chemical agents. The objective of this work is to create proven behavioral strategies that reduce the time frame for training rodents to reliably search for, identify and distinguish explosive and other harmful odorants from a number of distractor odors.
A separate interest of the lab involves understanding how physiological changes induced by emotionally arousing events, influences neural circuits in the brain to encode these experiences into memory more effectively. This question is approached with a battery of behavioral learning tasks, immunocytochemistry and neurochemistry to identify chemical transmitters that are released in the brain during learning to affect memory storage. The combined approaches are expected to reveal how meaningful or arousing events influence neural activity within the Amygdala, Prefrontal Cortex and Hippocampus to transform representations of everyday experiences into permanent memories.
Kerfoot , E. C. & Williams, C. L. (2018). Contributions of the Nucleus Accumbens Shell in Mediating the Enhancement in Memory Following Noradrenergic Activation of Either the Amygdala or Hippocampus. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 9:47.
King, S. O. & Williams, C. L. (2017). The Brainstem, Arousal and Memory. In The Brainstem and Behavior, 255-290. Edited by R. Lalonde. Nova Science Publishers.
Young, E. J. & Williams, C. L. (2013). Differential Activation of Amygdala Arc Expression By Positive and Negatively Valenced Emotional Learning Conditions. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, v7, 7:191.
Park, S. M. & Williams, C. L. (2012). Contribution of Serotonin Type-3 Receptors in the Successful Extinction of Cued or Contextual Fear Conditioned Responses: Interactions with GABAergic Signaling. Reviews in Neurosciences, 23, 555-569.
Chen, C. & Williams, C. L. (2012). Interactions Between Epinephrine, Ascending Vagal Fibers and Central Noradrenergic Systems in Modulating Memory for Emotionally Arousing Events. Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, 6: 35; 1-20.
McIntyre, C.K., Williams, C. L. & McGaugh, J. L. (2012). Interacting Brain Systems Modulate Memory Consolidation. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews. 36, 1750-1762.
Young, E. J. & Williams, C. L. (2010). Valence Dependent Asymmetric Release of Norepinephrine in the Basolateral Amygdala. Behavioral Neuroscience, 124, 633-644.