Toivo Maimets (born 1957, Estonia) graduated from the University of Tartu as a biologist-geneticist in 1980. He got his cand.sci.(kandidat nauk) degree from Moscow State University in 1984 for the studies on molecular mechanisms of bacterial protein synthesis. In 1985-1989 he was a British Council student and research scientist at the Marie Curie Cancer Research Institute (United Kingdom), where he started to study the genetics of cancer and the role of tumor suppressor genes in cell cycle regulation. In 1992 he became Professor of Cell Biology at the University of Tartu. His research involves characterization of intracellular signal transduction pathways responsible for cell cycle regulation, DNA damage control and tumorigenesis. In 2006-2007 he was Visiting Professor of University of Newcastle, UK studying the signaling in human stem cells.
Professor Toivo Maimets has been member of several international research organisations and advisory groups, including European Commission Research, Innovation and Science High-level Expert Group (RISE), European Molecular Biology Conference (former president), Science Europe (former member of Board) and European Science Foundation (former member of Board). He is a member of European and American Associations for Cancer Research and Academia Europaea. He is also member of the European Medicines Agency Committee of Advanced Therapies and has served as a member and vice-president of UNESCO International Bioethics Committee (IBC 2004-2011).
He has occupied numerous administrative posts with responsibilities in research and education, including director of the Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology (1999-2003 and from 2008), Minister of Education and Research (2003-2005) and member of Tartu University Governing Board (2012-2016). In 2009-2012 he was Chairman of Estonian Science Foundation, now member of Estonian Research Council Governing Board. In 2001-2007 he was the director of National Centre of Excellence for Gene and Environmental Technologies.