Oliver Bögler - proud to be a mad scientist!

I have known that I wanted to be a biologist ever since I can remember! I know that it is rare to be so sure so early, and I can't explain it - it is just that the way living things worked has always intrigued me.
At Oundle SchoolI always enjoyed biology and chemistry classes the most, and loved the way that science could explain the hidden in the world. They were classes where you could test book learning with hands-on experiments. The knowledge gained could explain your surroundings - it had immeadiate relevance to life! Oundle Coat of

When I graduated, I had the opportunity to take a year out before going to university. As well as travelling around the Mediterranean for a month and spending time with my family, I went to Strasbourg, France to work in the lab of Dr. William Higgins at the Merrel-Dow Research Labs. For 4 months I worked to purify an enzyme from E. coli against which Dr. Higgins was trying to design an inhibitor - a new antibiotic. I learned alot, and got my first taste of lab work - the fun of always doing something new, the challenge of doing things right and learning from your mistakes and the occasional frustration of when things don't go as expected! I will always be grateful to Dr. Higgins for taking a completely inexperienced high-school graduate in to his lab, and taking the time to teach me the basics. As a result, when I got to college I was already familiar with some of the practical aspects, of what had up until then been largely theoretical knowledge.

Sidney Sussex Coat of Arms At Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge, I read Natural Sciences, specialising in Biochemistry. I had the greatest time there - it was three years of fun and work. I rowed for Sidney, did a little (bad) acting in comedy skits, made many friends enjoying the varied social life and even did some studying... The education was great - you had access to some of the greatest minds in biology, and so many different courses from which to chose. In my two summers I worked in a lab, returning to Strasbourg in the first, and working at the National Medical Research labs in Mill Hill, London, in the second - you just couldn't keep me away from the bench.

After graduating from college I went straight into a Ph.D. with Dr. Mark Noble at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Middlesex Hospital/University College London Branch, London, UK. In three enjoyable years, in which I learnt a lot of biology, as well as how to pursue a project independently, I completed a thesis entitled: "The control of differentiation of the Oligodendrocyte-type-2 astrocyte progenitor." My sustained interest in glial cells was born here. Ludwig Institute
Logo The Noble lab was my first experience of frontier science - an exhilerating experience: when things are going well. With new results accumulating rapidly things can change from week to week, and you feel that you are engaged in the most exciting pursuit possible. Of course, there are times when things don't go that smoothly, and it is as important to learn how to get through them, how to redirect your effort to overcome obstacles. Dr. Noble taught me these things and much more.

Then I went to the Molecular Neurobiology lab at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA, USA, for a post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Greg Lemke. I learned alot from the broad mixture of neurobiology being pursued in MNL, and broadened my understanding of the glial cells of ther peripheral nervous system.

Then I did a second stint as a post-doctoral fellow, and a second stint with the Ludwig Institute. This time I worked with  with Dr. Webster K. Cavenee,  at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, San Diego Branch.  Here my interest in glial cells was complemented by learning about gliomas, the tumors that arise when glial cells go wrong. Three years of exciting research, in the vibrant atmosphere of a big world-class lab were an excellent experience. Ludwig Institute

School of Medicine Logo
Now, since Feb 1st 1997, I have moved to the Medical College of Virginia/Virginia Commonwealth University, where I have a lab that works on brain tumors. For more information visit the lab's webpage (click on the image to the right). Brain
Tumor Biology Lab Logo