Tamara P. Salisbury, a research chemist who helped start and served as director and chief operating officer of the National Foundation for Cancer Research in Bethesda, died Nov. 12 at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington. She was 85.

The cause was a heart attack, said her son Franklin Salisbury Jr., who is now president of the foundation.

Mrs. Salisbury spent her early career as a research chemist and a project officer in the chemistry branch of the Office of Naval Research before co-founding the National Foundation for Cancer Research in 1973. She started the foundation with her husband, entrepreneur and venture capitalist Franklin C. Salisbury, and Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, the Hungarian-born physiologist and Nobel laureate best known for his discovery of vitamin C.

The foundation has spent more than $315 million toward cancer research at universities and research hospitals around the world. She retired in 2003.

Tamara Paula Voloshin was a New York City native and a 1948 chemistry graduate of what is now Notre Dame of Maryland University in Baltimore.

She moved to Grand Oaks Assisted Living in Washington from Potomac in the mid-2000s.

She was a past director of the Washington Animal Rescue League.

Her husband died in 1997 after 42 years of marriage. Survivors include five children, Franklin Salisbury Jr. of Bethesda, John Salisbury, Claire DeHart and Elaine Salisbury, all of North Potomac, and Elizabeth Cameron of Washington; and two grandchildren.

— Adam Bernstein