Executive Director, The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation
Tom Skalak is the founding Executive Director of The Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group, launched in 2016. The Frontiers Group seeks to explore new frontiers, re-invent fields in ways that reflect major societal challenges and fundamental scientific curiosity, and bring new knowledge to light with a broad array of partners, making a positive impact on the world. A major interest of the Frontiers Group is the wide and growing landscape of quantitative bioscience. Previously, Tom was Vice President for Research at the University of Virginia, where he led research and innovation programs spanning biosciences, environmental sustainability, physical sciences, engineering and technology, arts, design, and humanities. Tom led the launch of the OpenGrounds collaboration initiative, bringing people together across fields for ideation; the statewide i6 Virginia Innovation Partnership; and the Global Water Games, a participatory computer game that improves the health of watersheds worldwide. As a Professor and Chair of Biomedical Engineering, Tom’s personal research included biomechanics of the cardiovascular system, angiogenesis, computational modeling, systems biology, wound repair, and regenerative medicine. He is a past President of both the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES). Tom is a frequent speaker on innovation and creativity with Fortune 500, venture capital, major art museum, and government partners, including The White House. He is a Council Member of the GUIRR Research Roundtable, a convening body of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine in the U.S. Tom was the founder of the UVA-Coulter Foundation Translational Research Partnership and other proof-of-concept funds with corporate partners such as Johnson & Johnson and AstraZeneca. One outcome was that the National Venture Capital Association ranked the Charlottesville region the #1 fastest-growing venture capital ecosystem in the United States between 2010-2015. Tom was educated as a bioengineer at The Johns Hopkins University (B.E.S. 1979) and at the University of California, San Diego (Ph.D. 1984), is a Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, and now enjoys exploring the deep waters of the Pacific Northwest with family and friends.