Silver Age (1963-1968)
Niles Caulder was an exceptional genius from a very young age, and used his vast knowledge to create several inventions that made him independently wealthy. One of his earliest discoveries was a mysterious formula that could prolong life. After he made this discovery, Caulder began to receive funding from a mysterious benefactor. Thanks in part to his unlimited cash flow from this mystery source, Dr. Caulder succeeded in making a new formula which could grant near immortality. But when Caulder learned that the benefactor was an evil would-be dictator named General Immortus, who wanted Caulder to invent a new formula to replace the one that had been using but was no longer working, Caulder refused to help him any longer.
Immortus got his revenge on Dr. Caulder by implanting an explosive device in his upper torso, which he could set off remotely any time he wished. If Caulder ever attempted to remove it, it would automatically detonate. Caulder eventually used his genius level intellect to find a way to remove the device, but it cost him his ability to walk, and he was now a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair. Instead of seeing this as a setback, Caulder saw that his tragic circumstance made him a stronger, better individual. He then sought out several people who were disfigured by various "accidents," all of which left them with freakish powers. He recruited three of them -- Robotman, Negative Man and Elasti-Girl -- into his team of outcast heroes he named the Doom Patrol.
Owing their lives to Dr. Caulder, who either helped save them or helped to control their powers, the Patrol gave their leader the name The Chief. Together, the Chief and the Doom Patrol had many adventures together, fighting enemies like his old benefactor General Immortus and the Brotherhood of Evil. Those adventures came to an abrupt end when the evil Captain Zahl forced Caulder and his team to choose between saving their own lives, or those of the tiny town of Codsville, Maine. The Doom Patrol valiantly sacrificed themselves to save the townspeople, and all members, including the Chief, were thought to be killed in the resulting explosion. But despite appearances, that would not be the end of Caulder's story.
The Bronze Age (1977-1985)
Although Robotman was quickly discovered to have survived the explosion, thanks to his robotic form, Caulder and the others all seemed to have been killed in the blast. Then, a mysterious woman from India named Arani Desai approached Robotman with a stunning revelation -- not only was she the Chief's long lost wife, she also believed him to still be alive. Along with Robotman, who did not believe her claim at first, Arani Desai formed a new Doom Patrol, partially in part to locate the Chief.
According to Desai, Caulder met and fell in love with her in Calcutta years before, and sensing danger from his enemy Immortus, he experimented on her and gave her powers over heat and cold to defend herself, and renamed her Celsius. The two were then married, but he subsequently abandoned her for her own safety, or at least that's what he told her. After his demise, Celsius became obsessed with the idea that he had faked his own death, as he was too smart to be killed by a simple explosion. Despite her belief in his having survived, the new Doom Patrol could not find the Chief, and eventually went their separate ways.
Post Crisis (1986-2011)
After the events of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Doom Patrol reformed, and continued their search for the Chief. Eventually, Celsius' theory proved correct, and the Chief was revealed to have survived the blast that killed his teammates, thanks to the advanced technology in his wheelchair. He went into hiding, and never told Robotman he had survived. However, once revealed to be alive, the Chief claimed that although he had indeed given Celsius her powers years ago, the two had never been in love and were never married. Celsius claimed he was lying, but soon after she died defending the Earth from an alien invasion. Later, the Chief admitted he had married her, but had manipulated her for his own reasons.
Now a part of the Doom Patrol again, the Chief embarked on many surreal adventures with this newest incarnation of the team, which once again included Robotman, but also new members like Crazy Jane and Dorothy Spinner. But the real truth about who Caulder was would soon be discovered, and devastate the team. The Chief is revealed to be working on a nanotechnology bomb that will destroy half the population of the Earth, and replace it with people transformed into freaks, believing that from this destruction a new and better humanity would emerge. In another bombshell reveal, the Doom Patrol learns that Caulder himself was behind all of the "accidents" that cause the original Doom Patrol members to gain their powers, adhering to Caulder's belief that true greatness is only achieved by overcoming tragic events
When the Doom Patrol's resident physician Joshua Clay discovers the truth, the Chief murders him in order to protect his secrets, but the Doom Patrol find out anyway, and succeed in putting an end to his plans. Soon after, he is decapitated by a creation of Doom Patrol member Dorothy Spinner called The Candlemaker. But the Chief has a knack for surviving almost any attempt at being killed, and this is not the end of him.
Doctor Will Magnus, another genius when it comes to robotics, then builds a whole new body for the Chief, with the idea that he needs to begin making amends to the team for what he's done. Becoming suicidal and overcome with guilt, the Chief believes that there is nothing he can do that will make up for his actions, and uses his new body to remove his own head. Magnus finds a way to save Caulder by getting the head to a cryogenic chamber, but after this the Chief exists only as a severed head in a bucket of ice, living on a diet of nothing but milkshakes. Now trying to atone for his horrible actions, he then rebuilds the Doom Patrol.
After many adventures as a disembodied head, the cosmic manipulations of the being known as Superboy Prime alter the history of the universe, allowing all the original members of the Doom Patrol to be reintroduced into the DC Universe, with all their past history now seemingly erased. This means a new, younger version of the Patrol is introduced to the world, with the Chief in charge once more, and with his body intact. It is unknown if this version of the Chief was responsible for the accidents which caused the creation of the team, but eventually all of his memories from the previous timeline were restored thanks to Superboy Prime punching himself out of the Phantom Zone, causing ripples in reality.
Post Infinite Crisis (2006-2011)
After the Multiverse was reborn due to the events of the Infinite Crisis, the Chief reappears leading a new incarnation of the Doom Patrol once more. It is revealed that in this new reality, had somehow managed to salvage a piece of Elasti-Girl's skull from the explosion that killed her years before, and used his scientific skills to regrow her entire body, which was possible due to its malleable form. This new version of Elasti-Woman is very subservient to Dr. Caulder, and was reluctant to ever question him in any way. It turned out that this Elast-Woman was actually not the original returned from the dead, but a clone of her.
After the Doom Patrol relocated to Oolong Island, Dr.Caulder was able to transfer the powers of a Kryptonian captured during the War of the Supermen into himself. With all this new power, he was able to disarm most of the world of its nuclear arsenal, and then attempted to instigate a forced world peace by hiding all the nuclear weapons at the former location of the Justice League of Antarctica. He then started making demands to the United Nations. His dreams of a forced global peace were crushed when the Doom Patrol was able to disarm him by shutting down his nervous system, leaving him powerless once more and in a coma.
New 52 (2011-2016)
In the wake of the Flashpoint event, the DC Universe timeline was greatly altered once more. In this new reality, Dr. Caulder first appeared operating an underground science facility located deep beneath Los Angeles, where he provides headquarters and combat training for the team known as the Ravagers in their ongoing fights against the organization called N.O.W.H.E.R.E.
During the events of Forever Evil, in which the Crime Syndicate of Earth-3 takes over the world, it is revealed that Niles Caulder has created a Doom Patrol in this new timeline as well. This version of the Patrol was unfortunately killed by Crime Syndicate, with the exceptions of Celsius and Joshua Clay who apparently faked their deaths to escape Caulder, which allowed for him to create a second iteration of his team. The second membership of the post Flashpoint Doom Patrol actually is made up of the team's original lineup with Robotman, Elasti-Girl, Negative Man. It is revealed that, just as in the previous reality, Dr. Caulder was responsible for all the accidents that initally gave the Doom Patrol their powers.
The Doom Patrol is once again contacted by Niles Caulder, who then partake in a new mission with him the group once again. When the mission goes south, the Doom Patrol sees this as a failure of leadership, and they vote to remove him as team leader, resulting in the Doom Patrol embracing a new beginning for themselves as a team.