$1 Million Gift Establishes Distinguished Chair in Clinical Research at Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute

03.21.2022 Atrium Health News

Pictured: (left) David M. Foureau, associate professor of medicine and research group director of Levine Cancer Institute’s Immune Monitoring Core Laboratory, first recipient of the chair; (right) Gayle and Charles “Carl” Tallardy 

Endowed gift to advance immuno-oncology program and treatment of melanoma through immunotherapy

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Mar. 21, 2022 – Atrium Health Foundation announced a $1 million gift from Gayle and Charles “Carl” Tallardy to further advance clinical research at Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute. The gift will establish the Gayle J. and Charles C. Tallardy III Foundation Distinguished Chair in Clinical Research Endowment at Levine Cancer Institute. David M. Foureau, associate professor of medicine and research group director of Levine Cancer Institute’s Immune Monitoring Core Laboratory, is the first recipient of the chair. He will be honored at a private investiture ceremony held next month.

“Transformational gifts such as these help position us among the best health systems in the country,” said Dr. Derek Raghavan, president of Levine Cancer Institute. “We are grateful to the Tallardy family for their generosity and for their commitment to advancing next generation medicine.”

A native of Davidson, North Carolina, Gayle Tallardy established the Gayle J. and Charles C. Tallardy III Foundation, inspired by her lifelong interest in science and her family’s experiences with cancer. Levine Cancer Institute is the first beneficiary of its kind to receive an endowed gift of this magnitude from the foundation in support of clinical research.

The endowment will help advance medical research leading to earlier detection, novel therapies, improved outcomes and curative treatments for melanoma through the Levine Cancer Institute’s Immuno-Oncology program. Immunotherapy, a form of biological therapy that uses an individual’s own immune system to fight cancer, allows researchers to create personalized therapies to better target the disease.

Gayle’s father, Dr. Claude Hardison McConnell, battled melanoma. After his passing, the Tallardys were moved to support immunotherapy, an area of research that shows great potential in treating melanoma. Gayle and Carl toured the translational research laboratory at Levine Cancer Institute and immediately saw an opportunity to meaningfully impact the trajectory of cancer care in the greater Charlotte region.

"We are honored to stand behind Levine Cancer Institute’s commitment to research, allowing clinicians to move beyond simply treating patients, to developing lifesaving cures,” said Gayle Talllardy.

"Immunotherapy clinical trials for melanoma will help to advance the broader knowledge of how this form of therapy can impact different forms of cancer,” said Foureau, a 14-year veteran of Atrium Health who earned a master’s degree in immunology at the Pasteur Institute, in Paris, and a doctorate in microbiology and immunology at Dartmouth.

Foureau underscored the importance of the Tallardy’s gift to immunotherapy research, citing sarcoma, breast cancer, colorectal cancer, multiple-myeloma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma as examples.

“This generous donation by Gayle and Carl Tallardy will help continue to drive the immunotherapy revolution,” he added.

About Atrium Health Foundation

Founded in 1959, Atrium Health Foundation is one of the largest charitable foundations in Charlotte. As the point of contact for all contributions benefiting Atrium Health in the Charlotte region, the Foundation inspires transformational giving to improve health, elevate hope, and advance healing – for ALL. Through its current Giving Hope Campaign, Atrium Health Foundation is supporting Atrium Health’s efforts to create the learning health system of the future by building healthy communities, outstanding education programs, preeminent research, and exemplary facilities.