Walter Bodmer

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Sir Walter Bodmer
Born Walter Fred Bodmer
(1936-01-10) January 10, 1936 (age 79)[1]
Alma mater University of Cambridge (BA, PhD)
Thesis The study of population genetics and gene effects, with special reference to Primula vulgaris and the house mouse (1959)
Academic advisors Ronald Fisher[2]
Doctoral students
Influenced Tomas Lindahl[8]
Notable awards
Spouse Julia Bodmer (m. 1956; died 2001)

Sir Walter Fred Bodmer FRS (born 10 January 1936[10] in Frankfurt am Main, Germany[11]) is a German-born British human geneticist.[12][13][14][15][16][17][18]


Bodmer was educated at Manchester Grammar School and went on to study the Mathematical Tripos at the University of Cambridge as a student of Clare College, Cambridge. He was awarded his PhD in 1959 from Cambridge for research on population genetics in the house mouse and Primula vulgaris (primrose) supervised by Ronald Fisher.[2]

Career and research[edit]

In 1961 Bodmer joined Joshua Lederberg's laboratory in the Genetics Department of Stanford University as a postdoctoral researcher, continuing his work on population genetics.[19] In 1962 Walter Bodmer was appointed to the faculty at Stanford. He left Stanford University in 1970 to become the first Professor of Genetics at the University of Oxford [1].[20]

Bodmer developed models for population genetics and worked on the human leukocyte antigen system and the use of somatic cell hybrids for human linkage studies. In 1985 he chaired a Royal Society committee which wrote The Bodmer Report; this has been credited[by whom?] with starting the movement for the public understanding of science.[21]

Bodmer was one of the first to suggest the idea of the Human Genome Project.[22] In 1987 he received the Ellison-Cliffe Medal from the Royal Society of Medicine. He was the director of research (1979–1991) and then Director General (1991–1996) of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. He was also Chancellor of the University of Salford, England (1995–2005; succeeded by Sir Martin Harris) and Principal of Hertford College, Oxford (1996–2005; succeeded by Dr. John Landers).

In 2005, Bodmer was appointed to lead a £2.3 million project (roughly 4.5 million USD) by the Wellcome Trust at University of Oxford to examine the genetic makeup of the United Kingdom - the People of the British Isles project. He was joined by Oxford Professor Peter Donnelly (a population genetics and statistics expert) and the Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow Lon Cardon. Bodmer said "Our aim is to characterise the genetic make-up of the British population and relate this to the historical and archaeological evidence." The researchers presented some of their findings to the public via the Channel 4 television series "Faces of Britain." On 14 April 2007, Channel 4 in Britain aired a program that highlighted the study’s then-current findings. The project took DNA samples from hundreds of volunteers throughout Britain, seeking tell-tale fragments of DNA that would reveal the biological traces of successive waves of colonisers — Celts, Saxons, Vikings, etc. — in various parts of Britain. The findings showed that the Viking invasion of Britain was predominantly from Danish Vikings while the Orkney Islands were settled by Norwegian Vikings.

He is currently[when?] Head of the Cancer and Immunogenetics Laboratory in the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of Oxford. Research interests of the laboratory include the fundamental genetics and biology of colorectal cancer.

Honours and awards[edit]

Bodmer has won numerous awards including:

His certifcate of election to the Royal Society reads:

Personal life[edit]

Bodmer's father was Jewish so the family were obliged to leave Germany in 1938 and settled in Manchester. In 1956 Bodmer married Julia Bodmer (née Pilkington) 1934 – 2001 a British geneticist. They had three children.[1]


  1. ^ a b BODMER, Prof. Walter. Who's Who 2015 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc.  (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b c Walter Bodmer at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  3. ^ Feldman, Marcus (1979). Some topics in theoretical population genetics (PhD thesis). Stanford University. OCLC 651748270. 
  4. ^ Gandhi, Shaan-Chirag Chandrahas (2010). Regulation of stemness and differentiation in colorectal cancer (DPhil thesis). University of Oxford. 
  5. ^ Johnston, Matthew David (2008). Mathematical modelling of cell population dynamics in the colonic crypt with application to colorectal cancer (DPhil thesis). University of Oxford. 
  6. ^ Jones, Matthew (2014). MiR-215 regulates differentiation in colorectal cancer stem cells (DPhil thesis). University of Oxford. 
  7. ^ Patel, Ruchi (2014). The role of homeobox gene NKX3.1 in prostate cancer (DPhil thesis). University of Oxford. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ Cavalli-Sforza, L. L. (1981). "The William Allan Memorial Award: Presented to Walter F. Bodmer, PhD, at the annual meeting of the American Society of Human Genetics New York, September 24-27, 1980". American journal of human genetics 33 (5): 659–63. PMC 1685126. PMID 7027789. 
  10. ^ The Times 10 January 2009, Retrieved 2010-01-09 (subscription required)
  11. ^ "BSI HONORARY MEMBER: Sir Walter Bodmer". British Society of Immunology. Archived from the original on 2015-04-02. 
  12. ^ Leslie, S; Winney, B; Hellenthal, G; Davison, D; Boumertit, A; Day, T; Hutnik, K; Royrvik, E. C.; Cunliffe, B; Wellcome Trust Case Control Consortium 2; International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium; Lawson, D. J.; Falush, D; Freeman, C; Pirinen, M; Myers, S; Robinson, M; Donnelly, P; Bodmer, W (2015). "The fine-scale genetic structure of the British population". Nature 519 (7543): 309–14. doi:10.1038/nature14230. PMID 25788095. 
  13. ^ Rodrigues, N. R.; Rowan, A; Smith, M. E.; Kerr, I. B.; Bodmer, W. F.; Gannon, J. V.; Lane, D. P. (1990). "P53 mutations in colorectal cancer". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 87 (19): 7555–9. PMC 54786. PMID 1699228. 
  14. ^ "Prof Sir Walter Bodmer FRS, Weatherhall Institute for Molecular Medicine". University of Oxford. Archived from the original on 2015-03-04. 
  15. ^ "Walter Bodmer: Cancer and Immunogenetics Laboratory". University of Oxford. Archived from the original on 2015-03-04. 
  16. ^ Hemminki, A.; Markie, D.; Tomlinson, I.; Avizienyte, E.; Roth, S.; Loukola, A.; Bignell, G.; Warren, W.; Aminoff, M.; Höglund, P.; Järvinen, H.; Kristo, P.; Pelin, K.; Ridanpää, M.; Salovaara, R.; Toro, T.; Bodmer, W.; Olschwang, S.; Olsen, A. S.; Stratton, M. R.; de la Chapelle, A.; Aaltonen, L. A. (1998). "A serine/threonine kinase gene defective in Peutz-Jeghers syndrome.". Nature 391 (6663): 184. doi:10.1038/34432. PMID 9428765. 
  17. ^ Bodmer, W; Bonilla, C (2008). "Common and rare variants in multifactorial susceptibility to common diseases". Nature Genetics 40 (6): 695–701. doi:10.1038/ng.f.136. PMC 2527050. PMID 18509313. 
  18. ^ Walter Bodmer's publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database, a service provided by Elsevier.
  19. ^ "Early Computers at Stanford". Stanford University. Archived from the original on 2014-08-13. 
  20. ^ Conversation with Walter Bodmer, San Francisco, 4 Dec.2010
  21. ^ "Public Understanding of Science, 1985". Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2013-10-19. 
  22. ^ "HUGO presidents". Archived from the original on 2015-04-08. 
  23. ^ a b "EC/1974/01: Bodmer, Walter Fred". London: The Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2015-04-11. 
  24. ^ "Sir Walter Bodmer FMedSci FRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2015-10-09. 
  25. ^ "Honorary Graduates 1989 to present". University of Bath. Retrieved 18 February 2012. 

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
The Duchess of York
Chancellor of the University of Salford
Succeeded by
Sir Martin Harris
Preceded by
Christopher Zeeman
Principal of Hertford College, Oxford
Succeeded by
John Landers