PhD programme: How does early life influence the brain and behavioural profile of a mouse model for schizophrenia

Closing Date
7 May 2024
Cardiff University Neuroscience and Mental Health Innovation Institute

About the programme

Rare variants in the gene SETD1A are consistently linked to the incidence of schizophrenia. Using a mouse model in which Setd1a is deleted (“knocked-out”, Setd1a-ko) we, and others, have identified deficits in behaviour and brain activity related to information processing. In addition, our work has demonstrated that the adult brain and behavioural profile of Setd1a-ko mice may, in part, be due to changes that occur very early in life. This project aims to explore how the brain and behavioural profile of Setd1a-ko mice develops.

Specifically, the primary objective are:

• Define the cognitive profile of Setd1a-ko mice using sophisticated behavioural neuroscience methods

• Examine how Setd1a-ko mouse behaviour develops in early life using home-cage monitoring

• Use a conditional model to dissociate indirect effects of Setd1a deletion on brain and behavioural development

Over 2023-2028 the Centre will fund 18+ 3-year PhD scholarships through the Hodge PhD Scholarship Programme. We are currently supporting our first 6 PGR students. We intend to fund a further 7 studentships per year for October intakes in 2024 and 2025. A key aim of the Scholarship Programme is to train and nurture the brightest researchers in the skills needed to address the complex problem of treating brain disorders related to mental health. To meet this strategic aim each project should have a link with a key non-academic external partner, so that our PhD students have the opportunity to learn about the challenges of translating their research findings into impact beyond academia.  

 In addition, we will support the development of supervisory skills for ECRs through direct supervision of projects, in project selection and via training programme delivery. We actively encourage ECRs to apply as part of the supervisory team. Each Studentship will cover ‘Home’ tuition fees, a stipend at the UKRI rate and a generous contribution towards the consumable costs of each project.  

 The overarching theme for supported projects is the neuroplasticity and/or neuroimmunology of psychiatric illness relevant to mental health. We will support cross-disciplinary projects that overlap with these research themes and aims. One legacy-funded project will be supported in the area of schizophrenia for 2024. 

Funding notes

Open to home students only
Funding will cover UK fees and stipend at the UKRI rate.

How to apply

Please contact Professor Anthony Isles, for more information about this project.       

Application forms and further information about applying to the Hodge PhD Scholarship Programme can be obtained from

Competed application forms must be sent to

Only one form will be considered per applicant. You can select up to 2 projects funded by the Hodge PhD Scholarship Programme in one application form. 

Only Home applicants are eligible to apply for projects.

Visit here for more information.