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Tõnu Esko


Joshi PK, Esko T, Mattsson H, et al. Directional dominance on stature and cognition in diverse human populations. Nature. 2015 Jul 23;523(7561):459-462.

Okbay A, Beauchamp JP, Fontana MA, et al. Genome-wide association study identifies 74 loci associated with educational attainment. Nature. 2016 May 26;533(7604):539-42.

Guo MH, Nandakumar SK, Ulirisch JC, et al. Comprehensive population-based genome sequencing provides insight into hematopoietic regulatory mechanisms. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2017 Jan 17;114(3):E327-E336.

Tõnu Esko, Ph.D.

Tõnu Esko is a research scientist in the Medical and Population Genetics Program of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. He currently holds a joint appointment as assistant director and senior research fellow at the University of Tartu’s Institute of Genomics. His 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.

Prior to joining the Broad Institute in 2015 to undertake postdoctoral research under the direction of Eric Lander, Esko had worked at the Estonian Genome Center at the University of Tartu, Estonia, where he began as a specialist and rose through the ranks to become assistant director. He had previously worked for the Estonian Biocentre while obtaining his master’s and doctoral degrees.

During his postdoctoral research, Esko also worked as a research economist at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts and later held a visiting researcher post at Boston Children’s Hospital. He conducted his first postdoctoral studies at Harvard Medical School as part of the Joel Hirschhorn group before initiating his second postdoc at the Broad Institute.

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.

Among his many honors and affiliations, Esko has been a semifinalist for the American Society of Human Genetics Charles J. Epstein Trainee Award for Excellence in Human Genetics Research; he received the Estonian Academy of Sciences Young Investigator Scholarship; he was awarded first prize in the category of biology and environmental sciences for the Estonian national student research competition (Ph.D. level) in 2012; and he was a nominated participant at the 61st Meeting of Nobel Laureates and Young Researchers in Lindau, Germany.

Esko is 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 chairs the scientific program committee for the International Geneforum conference.

Contact Tönu Esko via email at

February 2018