Dr Anthony Isles

Dr Anthony Isles

Professor, Division of Psychological Medicine and Clinical Neurosciences

School of Medicine

Email:
islesar1@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone:
+44 (0)29 2068 8467
Location:
2.48, Hadyn Ellis Building, Maindy Road, Cardiff, CF24 4HQ
Media commentator

I am a molecular and behavioural neuroscientist interested in the contribution of epigenetic mechanisms to brain and behaviour. In particular, we are investigating an intriguing family of genes, the imprinted genes, which are subject to epigenetic control acquired during development resulting in expression from one parental copy (allele) only. The research is focused on addressing what these imprinted genes are doing in the brain and how they may contribute to neurodevelopmental disorders.

Education and qualifications

  • 2000: PhD (Zoology) University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  • 1994: BSc Zoology & Genetics, University of Sheffield, UK

Academic positions

  • 2006 - present: Professor, MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics, Cardiff University, Cardiff, UK
  • 2003 - 2008 Beebe Ttrust Research Fellow, Department of Psychiatry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  • 1999 - 2003 Post-doctoral researcher, The Babraham Institute, Cambridge, UK
  • 1994 - 1995 ESF Trainee technician, Department of Genetics, Leicester University, UK

Committees and reviewing

Internal

  • 2014 - present: Deputy-Director of the Wellcome Trust Integrative Neuroscience PhD programme
  • 2015 - present: Neuroscience and Mental Health themelead, GW4 MRC BioMed doctoral training programme

External

  • 2017 - 2022: Communications (trustee) British Association of Neuroscience
  • 2017 - present: Editorial Board member, Brain and Neuroscience Advances
  • 2016 - present: MRC Harwell GEMM panel member 
  • 2008 - present: Associate Editor, European Journal of Neuroscience

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I am a lecturer and tutor on the intercalated Psychology module "Scientific Basis o Psychological Medicine" (ME3085). I am also a lecturer on final year Psychology module "Behavioural Genetics" (PS3210).

I also give a Case 12 second year lecture on "Neural controlof appetite: the example of PWS"

My group is interested in the contribution of epigenetic mechanisms to brain and behaviour. In particular, we are investigating an intriguing family of genes, the imprinted genes, which are subject to epigenetic control acquired during development resulting in expression from one parental copy (allele) only. The research is focused on addressing what these imprinted genes are doing in the brain and how they may contribute to neurodevelopmental disorders. We are also interested in whether imprinted genes expressed in the brain are affected by the maternal environment (e.g. diet). Similarly, more recent research in collaboration with Dr Rosalind John (Cardiff University) is investigating whether changes in the placental expression of imprinted genes can influence both maternal behaviour and later offspring outcomes. Finally, we are also involved in work characterising the role epigenetic processes more generally in neurodevelopment and the aetiology of neuropsychiatric illness.

Our work requires a multi-disciplinary approach in order to examine aspects of behaviour, neurobiology and molecular genetics. We primarily examine behavioural phenotypes in rodent models and use molecular techniques for addressing gene expression and epigenetic regulation of the genome (histone modification and DNA methylation).

Current research project areas

  • Imprinted genes, brain and behaviour
  • Coordination of placenta, maternal brain, and offspring outcomes
  • Neurodevelopmental role of the histone methyltransferase Ehmt1/Glp
  • Developmental and functional role of Setd1a in the brain

Research Funding

Medical Research Council, Pump primer award - "IMPC: Investigating the brain role of Setd1a in relation to schizophrenia and developmental disorders"

Biolotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council, project grant - "Exposing the link between placental endocrine dysfunction and offspring behaviour"

Biolotechnology & Biological Sciences Research Council, project grant - "Ensuring quality maternal care in an adverse environment"

Medical Research Council, project grant - "Investigating a placental origin for pregnancy andpostpartum mood disorder"

Wellcome Trust, Integrative Neuroscience PhD - "The role of imprinted Grb10 in brain and behaviour"

Areas of expertise

External profiles