Tõnu Esko

Professor of Human Genomics | Chief Scientist, CDL-Estonia

Role: Scientist

Site: CDL-Estonia

Stream: Digital Society

Tõnu Esko currently serves as a Professor of Human Genomics at the Institute of Genomics, University of Tartu and also as Chief Business Development Officer, Estonian Biobank Innovation Center. As a human geneticist and molecular biologist, he has extensive experience in performing and implementing genetic association studies. His academic research focuses on developing and implementing genomics-guided, personalized healthcare models at the national scale by using comprehensive electronic health records available for special populations as a means of understanding the role of DNA mutations.

Currently his work at Estonian Biobank Innovation Center is focused on building public private partnerships both with early-stage startups, SMEs, global corporations and VC funds across the fields of HealthTech, BioTech and MedTech by utilizing the rich Estonian Biobank digital health repositories as well as world-class scientific expertise. His latest endeavor is to set up a holding company for University of Tartu, an entity to park IP and data access based equity from startups, accelerators and even VC fonds.

He conducted his first postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School, and later held visiting researcher posts at Boston Children’s Hospital, the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. Tõnu Esko holds a Ph.D. in molecular human genetics, an M.S. (cum laude) in biotechnology and biomedicine, and a B.S. degree (cum laude) in molecular human genetics, all from the Department of Biotechnology, University of Tartu, Estonia. He is also a current eLife Science editor and a member of both the Estonian and American Societies of Human Genetics. He also acts as scientific advisor to the Social Science Genetic Association Consortium and for several biotech, medtech and software companies.