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Thomas C. Skalak

Thomas C. Skalak

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Charlottesville, VA 22904



Thomas C. SkalakThomas C. Skalak

Thomas C. Skalak is Vice President for Research and Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Virginia.  He served as Chair of the Department of Biomedical Engineering at U.Va. from 2001-2008.  He received the B.E.S. in Bioengineering from The Johns Hopkins University in 1979 and the Ph.D. in Bioengineering from U.C.S.D. in 1984.  Dr. Skalak is President-elect of the American Institute of Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and a past-President of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES).  In AIMBE, he has served on the Finance and Development Committee and chaired the Fellows Selection Committee.  Dr. Skalak is a recognized expert in blood vessel remodeling and biomechanics.  Novel technical approaches include multicellular computer simulations that can predict complex system pattern formation and adaptation in the cardiovascular system.  He has given more than 100 invited talks on these topics throughout the world to both industrial partners and academic groups, and has delivered short courses on blood rheology for R&D groups at corporate clients such as Abbott Laboratories.  He has been a consultant to major device and pharmaceutical firms, as well as several start-up ventures, including Abbott Laboratories, Target Therapeutics, and Cottler Technologies.  Over a period of 23 years at U.Va., he has been principal investigator responsible for over $30 M in research grants, is currently PI of the $5 M U.Va.-Coulter Foundation Translational Research Partnership and a co-managed fund with Johnson & Johnson that link faculty in engineering, medicine, and business with the aim of delivering new methods and products to clinical use and commercialization.  He is Program Director of the world’s largest bioengineering network, BMEplanet, with support of the NSF Partnerships for Innovation program and the Kauffman Foundation, connecting bioengineers in 45 countries spanning 6 continents.  He serves as reviewer for NIH, NSF, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Science Foundation Ireland, and more than 30 scientific journals.

As Vice President for Research at U.Va., Tom is responsible for the integration and enhancement of research activities across UVa’s eleven schools and multiple research centers.  He is leading university-wide strategic planning activities, including multidisciplinary groups in environmental sustainability, innovation, and biosciences.  During the last year, he led the launch of the Science & Art Project, bringing 300 faculty and community members together for cross-boundary collaborations; the U.Va. Venture Summit, which brought $10 billion in active venture capital to U.Va. to discuss windows on the future of emerging fields; the U.Va. Bay Game, a computer simulation game that predicts behaviors of the nation’s largest estuary in relation to the human communities that surround it.  The university’s goal is to integrate the unique resources of a comprehensive research and learning organization to explore, discover, and invent, bringing diverse talents and approaches to bear on major societal problems and producing innovation that drives the creative economy.

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Thomas C. Skalak and Beth TurnerThomas C. Skalak, vice president for research and Elizabeth Turner, vice provost for the arts launch a new Science & Art Project, an initiative to promote experimental alliances between artists, scientists and visionaries for the expansion of new ideas and creative work.

The Science & Art Project came about as a result of the Spotlight Discussion Series, originated by Rosamond Casey, visual artist and teacher at Charlottesville’s McGuffey Art Center.

The title of the discussion was “How Ideas Emerge in Science and Art.” Participants included Tom Skalak, vice president for research at U.Va.; James Coan, director of the U.Va. Affective Neuroscience Laboratory; Ted Coffey, assistant professor of music, U.Va.; and Susan Skalak, design engineer.

After the presentation, Susan Crowder, a sculptor and installation artist, and Rosamond made a proposal to the Spotlight speakers and to the director of the U.Va. Art Museum. They suggested creating a project in Charlottesville designed to enable artists and scientists to collaborate. From that spark, the Science & Art Project was born.

Tom brought the conceptual ideas to later discussions with Elizabeth Hutton Turner, Vice Provost for the Arts at U.Va. Support for this initiative also came from Arthur Garson, Jr., M.D., Executive Vice President and Provost, U.Va., through his deep appreciation for the role of the creative arts in developing people in all professions, and belief that this program could be become a “model for the world.”