In addition to working at Surrey Place Centre (a Toronto agency providing coordinated service, education, and research in the intellectual disabilities field), Maire Percy is Professor Emeritus of Physiology and Obstetrics &: Gynaecology at the University of Toronto. She holds a bachelor's degree in physiology and biochemistry, a master's degree in medical biophysics, and a doctoral degree in biochemistry, all from the University of Toronto; in addition, she is an Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto (A.R.C.T.). She did postdoctoral training as a Medical Research Council Fellow in immunology at the Agricultural Research Council Institute of Animal Physiology, Babraham, United Kingdom, and in immunology and genetics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. As National Health Research Scholar (Health Canada), Maire entered the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities after a meeting with Arthur Dalton, then Director of Behavior Research at Surrey Place Centre, who recognized the potential of her multidisciplinary background and creativity for research in intellectual disabilities. In collaboration with Arthur Dalton and Vera Markovic, cytogeneticist at Surrey Place, Maire initiated biochemical and genetic studies of aging and dementia in people with Down syndrome. Research in this field soon took precedence for her, and in 1989 she was invited to join the Department of Biomedical Services and Research at Surrey Place Centre, under the direction of Joseph M. Berg, eminent clinical geneticist and psychiatrist.
Maire's knowledge and expertise in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities continued to expand as the result of her research; her role as Chair of the research ethics board at Surrey Place Centre; and her extensive professional activities in the intellectual disabilities field, which include cofounding the Research Special Interest Group of the Ontario Association on Developmental Disabilities and the Fragile X Research Foundation of Canada, being Chair of the Publication Committee of the Ontario Association on Developmental Disabilities, and being a member of the Chief Editorial Committee of the Journal on Developmental Disabilities. A dedicated teacher, Maire developed a graduate course entitled Neuroscience of the Developmental Disabilities, providing her with the inspiration and background material to produce Developmental Disabilities in Ontario (co-edited with Ivan Brown).
Author of more than 250 published papers, book chapters, and presentations and reviewer of publications and grants for numerous scientific journals and granting agencies, Maire is internationally known for her work on risk factors in serious human disorders and diseases and as an exemplary mentor of students at all levels. In 2004, in recognition for her lifetime contributions to the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities, she received the Research Excellence Award of the Ontario Association on Developmental Disabilities. The asteroid mairepercy is named in honor of her scientific and research contributions.
Maire currently is involved in collaborative studies of vitamin E in older persons with Down syndrome; in collaborative studies of the roles of iron, aluminum, and B vitamins in dementia; and in the development of screening tools to identify support needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She shares her home with her husband John (Professor of Astronomy) and two cats and is the mother of Carol (Professor of English).