Meet Joakim Bohlin

Hi there! My name is Joakim and since this is my first post on this blog I’ll give you an introduction to who I am and how I got here.

I grew up on the best coast of Sweden, in the district Bohuslän, slightly north of Gothenburg. My parents never got the opportunity to pursue any higher education, but through their encouragement and unending support, I followed the examples of my two older sisters, got through upper-secondary school and applied for university. As an undergraduate, I studied Software Engineering at the Chalmers University of Technology. Before I continued with a master’s degree, however, I joined my then-girlfriend Ellen on a wonderful 7-month trip through East-Asia and happily returned with her as my fiancée.


Enjoying the jungles of Laos and not thinking too much about which master’s program to choose.

Back at Chalmers, I decided that I wanted to learn more about modelling and simulation rather than pure software engineering. Thus, I started the master’s program in Complex Adaptive Systems. There, through courses like Computational Biology, Artificial Neural Networks and Stochastic Optimization Algorithms, my interest in modelling and mimicking biology was increased even further. For the final year, I approached one of the professors to ask if he had any ideas for a master’s thesis. He sure did, and I ended up working on this really fascinating project where I combined my programming background with my newfound interest in biology to simulate Artificial Life and the emergence of an ecosystem.


Presenting my master’s thesis and graduating from Chalmers.

At this point, I was already quite fond of working within academia, so I stuck around at Chalmers as a Project Assistant for another six months, modelling urban network morphology, while looking around for inspiring PhD positions. Eventually, I found this position in Oxford for the integration of modular DNA-origami robotic modules. I was not sure of how well my background would fit this amazing-sounding project, but the job listing was broad enough and it seemed like a step further in the direction I was moving, so I figured that I would give it a try. I got called to an interview by Prof. Turberfield (my reply was several days late because I was out skiing in the forest for three days without any food) and three interviews later I got the position!


Me returning to civilization, not knowing that I was called to an interview at Oxford a few days prior

Studying at Oxford is an amazing experience in itself and walking down some of the halls you would be excused for thinking you were at Hogwarts. I got accepted into Balliol College, possibly the oldest college at Oxford (although there are two other colleges who might be slightly older).

Google Earth rendering of Balliol College, also me inside the Balliol Hall.

I spend most of my time in the Clarendon Laboratory, which is a great big mix of old and new buildings grown together. Although, the oldest parts of the laboratory is still half a millennia younger than some university buildings. I lived in university-provided accommodation for the first semester, but then I moved to a small and lovely village just outside Oxford together with my wife. Oh, did I not mention that I married Ellen the previous summer? Well, I did and it was great .

For the moment, however, I’m actually in Aarhus, doing an exciting 2-months secondment at the Andersen Lab and learning a lot about RNA. But I’ll be back in Oxford in time for the Balliol Ball.

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