NEWS | September 4, 2013

UC Davis endowed chair for clinical cancer research established

Lung cancer expert Karen Kelly appointed to important post


Karen Kelly, Associate Director for Clinical Research at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, is the recipient of the university’s first endowed chair in Cancer Clinical Research.

Karen Kelly © UC Regents Karen Kelly © UC Regents

The Tegley & Harmon Endowed Chair is named in honor of Elizabeth Erica Harmon, who passed away at age 30, and her cousin, Jennifer Rene Harmon Tegley, who died at age 18, just one year after being diagnosed with a very aggressive throat cancer.

The Harmon family made a $765,000 gift to create the endowed chair to support the work of Kelly, who managed Jennifer's end-of-life care and is building the cancer center’s Phase I clinical trials program. The Harmon family gift was matched with funds from the UC Davis Health System’s Dean’s Catalyst Fund.

“With so many important advances in genomics and drug development, this is an exciting time to be engaged in cancer research,” Kelly said. “As the university’s first cancer clinical research chair, I am honored to lead our comprehensive cancer center team in bringing these innovative new treatments to patients.”

A private appreciation reception will be held tonight at the cancer center in honor of the Harmon family. UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi will address the group about the importance of the investment in cancer clinical research at a time of great promise and need for discovery.

The Tegley & Harmon Endowed Chair was the university’s 150th. Its establishment was celebrated in April at the annual UC Davis Endowed Chairs and Professorships gala.

The Harmon family also has contributed to the cancer center directly; in 2012 the family made a $1 million gift to support the cancer center expansion project. In recognition, the center’s lobby area was named the Jennifer Rene Harmon Tegley and Elizabeth Erica Harmon Pavillion.

UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute-designated center serving the Central Valley and inland Northern California, a region of more than 6 million people. Its specialists provide compassionate, comprehensive care for more than 10,000 adults and children every year, and access to more than 150 clinical trials at any given time. Its innovative research program engages more than 280 scientists at UC Davis, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Jackson Laboratory (JAX West), whose scientific partnerships advance discovery of new tools to diagnose and treat cancer. Through the Cancer Care Network, UC Davis collaborates with a number of hospitals and clinical centers throughout the Central Valley and Northern California regions to offer the latest cancer care. Its community-based outreach and education programs address disparities in cancer outcomes across diverse populations. For more information, visit