Oliver studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge University and then moved to the laboratory of Dr. Mark Noble, Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, University College Branch in London, UK for his PhD (1991). Following a post-doc at the Salk Institute, he rejoined the Ludwig Institute, working with Dr. Webster Cavenee, Director of the San Diego Branch. His first faculty appointment (1997), was in the Departments of Anatomy and Neurosurgery at Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond. In 2000 he moved to the Hermelin Brain Tumor Center, Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit. In 2005 Oliver joined the Brain Tumor Center at the U.T. M.D. Anderson Cancer Center as Director of Basic Research, and was promoted to Professor in 2009. His work is focused on EGFR signaling in glioma and novel platinum compounds.