A photo of Michael Williams.

Michael T. Williams, PhD

  • Co-Director, Animal Behavior Core
  • Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



My research interest is in neurocognitive disorders, especially during development, related to environmental agents, proton therapy and genetic anomalies. My lab team and I are gaining a better understanding of the fundamental processes of cognitive disorders by using an entire animal system. Specifically, we are interested in determining the mechanisms of cognitive conditions during early development.

I am the co-director of the Animal Behavior Core. In our lab, my team and I collaborate on multiple projects that test the functional outcomes of an assortment of features. Our research's notable findings include utilizing the Cincinnati water maze to reveal egocentric learning and memory deficits, and how the dopaminergic system is essential for this kind of learning and memory.

Some of the notable recognitions I have obtained during my career include becoming a fellow of the International Behavioral Neuroscience Society and receiving the Patricia Rodier Mid-career Award for Research and Mentoring.

I have more than 25 years of experience in neurology and began working at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in 1997. My research has been published in numerous journals, such as Neurotoxicology and Teratology, Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience and Nature Protocols.



Kaolin-induced ventriculomegaly at weaning produces long-term learning, memory, and motor deficits in rats. Williams, MT; Braun, AA; Amos-Kroohs, RM; II, MJ P; Lindquist, DM; Mangano, FT; Vorhees, CV; Yuan, W. International Journal of Developmental Neuroscience. 2014; 35:7-15.


Dorsal striatal dopamine depletion impairs both allocentric and egocentric navigation in rats. Braun, AA; Graham, DL; Schaefer, TL; Vorhees, CV; Williams, MT. Neurobiology of Learning and Memory. 2012; 97:402-408.


Neonatal methamphetamine-induced corticosterone release in rats is inhibited by adrenal autotransplantation without altering the effect of the drug on hippocampal serotonin. Grace, CE; Schaefer, TL; Gudelsky, GA; Williams, MT; Vorhees, CV. Neurotoxicology and Teratology. 2010; 32:356-361.


Ontogeny of the adrenal response to (+)-methamphetamine in neonatal rats: the effect of prior drug exposure. Williams, MT; Schaefer, TL; Furay, AR; Ehrman, LA; Vorhees, CV. Stress. 2006; 9:153-163.


Morris water maze: procedures for assessing spatial and related forms of learning and memory. Vorhees, CV; Williams, MT. Nature Protocols. 2006; 1:848-858.


CRF administered to pregnant rats alters offspring behavior and morphology. WILLIAMS, MT; HENNESSY, MB; DAVIS, HN. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior. 1995; 52:161-167.

Comprehensive Behavioral Analysis of Opsin 3 (Encephalopsin)-Deficient Mice Identifies Role in Modulation of Acoustic Startle Reflex. Upton, BA; Nayak, G; Schweinzger, I; D’souza, SP; Vorhees, CV; Williams, MT; Earl, BR; Lang, RA. eNeuro. 2022; 9.

Cognitive and behavioral effects of whole brain conventional or high dose rate (FLASH) proton irradiation in a neonatal Sprague Dawley rat model. Williams, MT; Sugimoto, C; Regan, SL; Pitzer, EM; Fritz, AL; Sertorio, M; Mascia, AE; Vatner, RE; Perentesis, JP; Vorhees, CV. PLoS ONE. 2022; 17.