Tom Skalak, PhD
Tom Skalak joined the Joe and Clara Tsai Foundation in 2018 as Senior Advisor to Clara Wu Tsai. The Foundation makes philanthropic investments in science, economic mobility, and cultural production (art, music, film), with a vision to produce transformative impact on societal well-being and sustainability. Biomedical sciences and translational research are major directions. Tom is Vice President for Research Emeritus at the University of Virginia and was previously the founding Executive Director of The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group in Seattle, the Microsoft co-founder’s global science investing group. In these roles, Tom led creative synthesis of research and innovation programs spanning biosciences, environmental sustainability, physical sciences, engineering and technology, arts, design, and humanities.
As Professor and Chair of Biomedical Engineering at UVa, Tom’s original research included cardiovascular biomechanics, angiogenesis, computational modeling, wound repair, and regenerative medicine, conducted with continuous NIH funding over 28 years. He is a past President of both the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). He was the founder of the UVA-Coulter Foundation Translational Research Partnership and early stage investment funds with corporate partners such as Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca. Tom is Chair of the External Advisory Council of the MIT Science and Technology Center on self-assembly of multicellular systems, a Council Member of the Government, University, Industry Research Roundtable (GUIRR) of the U.S. National Academies and has served on visiting committees and panels at research institutions including Stanford, Harvard, Yale, and UCSD.
Tom was educated as a bioengineer at The Johns Hopkins University (B.E.S. 1979) and the University of California, San Diego (Ph.D. 1984), was a Resident Artist at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program in 2018 and is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors.