Professor Toomas Asser

On February 16 professor Toomas Asser was submitted as a candidate by the council of the Faculty of Medicine. 

Rektorikandidaat Toomas Asser

Toomas Asser was born on 14 July 1954 in Jõhvi. He studied at Nõo Secondary School from 1970 to 1973 and at the University of Tartu from 1973 to 1979, graduating cum laude from the Faculty of Medicine. In 1987, Asser defended his candidate of medical sciences degree at Moscow N. Burdenko Institute of Neurosurgery with his dissertation on cerebral blood flow regulation issues and stereotactic operations using the original thermocautery. His main research areas are cerebrovascular diseases, surgical treatment of cerebral artery aneurysms, surgical treatment of Parkinson's disease, deep brain stimulation, pathomorphology and epidemiology of brain tumours, diagnostic markers of malignant gliomas and determinants of treatment outcomes. 

Toomas Asser's academic career at the University of Tartu started in 1979 as an assistant at the Neurology Clinic, continuing at the same clinic as an associate professor from 1989 to 1995 and as a professor of neurosurgery from 1995. All this time, Toomas Asser has also been a recognised doctor: from 1979 to 2018, he worked at Tartu University Hospital (previously Tartu Maarjamõisa Hospital) as a neurosurgeon and from 2018 as a consultant neurosurgeon. From 1988 to 1989, he trained at the Institute of Brain Diseases of Tohoku University in Japan.  

Toomas Asser has extensive management experience at all academic levels of the University of Tartu: from 1996 to 2018, he was the head of the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, from 2000 to 2009, dean of the Faculty of Medicine, and from 2012 to 2018, a member of the university council. Since 2018, Toomas Asser has been the Rector of the University of Tartu. 

Toomas Asser is an active member of Estonian society. For instance, he is a member of the Research and Development Council advising the Government of the Republic, he chairs Universities Estonia and is a member of the Council of the Estonian Employers' Confederation. In 2011, Asser was elected as a member of the Estonian Academy of Sciences. Since 2014, he also leads its Division of Biology, Geology and Chemistry, and is a member of the Board of Academy. 

Asser is also involved in European higher education and research policy-making as a member of the governing bodies of international networks: he is a member of the Board of Directors of The Guild of European Research-Intensive Universities, a member of the Rectors' Advisory Group of Coimbra Group, a member of the Steering Committee of the ENLIGHT network and President of the CELSA University Alliance. Asser is a valued speaker at conferences on the future of higher education in Europe (e.g. the ScienceBusiness annual conference in 2023, the LERU network's New Year's Debate) and is involved as an external expert in the planning of governance innovations in European universities (Bern, Ljubljana).  

Toomas Asser has authored more than 200 research publications and has supervised eleven doctoral theses. He has contributed to the work of various professional associations over the years, being a member of the Estonian Medical Association, the Estonian Society of Neurologists and Neurosurgeons, the Estonian Movement Disorders Society, and the Neurology Commission of the Estonian Ministry of Social Affairs. He has also held leadership roles in international professional organisations, serving as a member and vice president of the Training Committee of the European Association of Neurosurgery Societies, a member of the board and president of the Baltic Neurosurgical Association, a member of the executive body of the Neurosurgery Section of the European Union of Medical Specialists and a member of the steering committee of the European Brain Council. To promote academic research in the field, Asser has participated in the editorial boards of the journals Eesti Arst, Acta Neurochirurgica, The European Journal of Neurosurgery and Acta Neurologica Scandinavia.  

Toomas Asser has received numerous awards, including: 1997 Tohoku University Medal; 2009 Medal of the University of Tartu Faculty of Medicine; 2009 Badge of honour of the Estonian Medical Association; 2011 Special recognition diploma of the World Cultural Council; 2013 Order of the Estonian Red Cross, 1st class; 2014 University of Tartu Grand Medal; 2019 Latvian Cross of Recognition, 3rd class. 

See also Toomas Asser' CV in the Estonian Research Information System