Debra Lynch Kelly, PhD, RN, OCN

Assistant Professor

University of Florida
1225 Center Drive
HPNP 3225
Gainesville, FL 32610-0197

Telephone: 352-273-6390
Fax: 352-273-6536


Dr. Lynch Kelly has served as an educator in several areas of nursing including instruction on pain management and patient controlled analgesia. She has been involved with course design for the Rn to BSN courses online and currently instructs in the College of Nursing across programs. Her primary teaching responsibilities are in Medical Surgical nursing for the undergraduate programs.



Primary focus of research is in the area of biobehavioral responses to distressing symptoms of chronic illness with a population focus in oncology. Currently funded research involves biological mechanisms such as the gut microbiota, metabolites, and mitochondrial dysfunction of cancer related symptoms (CRS).


Dr. Lynch Kelly is active in several nursing organizations at all levels including the Southern Nursing Research Society, American Nurses Association, Oncology Nursing Society and Sigma Theta Tau. She is also a member of the Center for International Bone Marrow Transplant Late Effect Working Committee. She serves at the College of Nursing level as a member of the Academic Affairs Committee and is a member of the Innovation Task Force and the BSN Cirriculum Task Farce.
She has served as a Marshal for the University of Florida. Dr. Lynch Kelly has been recognized as a leader in Nursing Education and has been the recipient of several nurse educator awards including RN Excellence in Professional Development, Education and Leadership

Area of Expertise

Dr. Lynch Kelly’s primary research goals are directed toward understanding the biological mechanisms and behaviors that mediate symptoms of chronic illness, with a population focus in oncology. She has worked closely with cancer survivors managing persistent, distressing symptoms and has studied the effects of inflammation on symptoms. Her future research plans are aimed at further describing the relationships of inflammatory and genetic markers and symptom expression in individuals with cancer. Ultimately she will explore interventions that may be used as adjuvant therapies to mitigate distress of symptoms. Her national certification is as an oncology certified nurse


Dr. Kelly received her bachelor’s degree in nursing and PhD in Nursing, both from Virginia Commonwealth University.

Selected Publications

  • Starkweather A, Lynch Kelly D, Thacker L, Wright ML, Jackson-Cook CK, Lyon DE. Relationships among psychoneurological symptoms and levels of C-reactive protein over 2 years in women with early-stage breast cancer. Support Care Cancer. 2017 Jan;25(1):167-176. PubMed PMID: 27599815; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5261966.
  • Lynch Kelly D, Lyon DE, Periera D, Garvan C, Wingard J. Lifestyle Behaviors, Perceived Stress, and Inflammation of Individuals With Chronic Graft-Versus-Host Disease. Cancer Nurs. 2016 Dec 5. [Epub ahead of print] PubMed PMID: 27922915.
  • Lynch Kelly D, Dickinson K, Hsiao CP, Lukkahatai N, Gonzalez-Marrero V, McCabe M, Saligan LN. Biological Basis for the Clustering of Symptoms. Semin Oncol Nurs. 2016 Nov;32(4):351-360. doi: 10.1016/j.soncn.2016.08.002. Review. PubMed PMID: 27776832; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5143166.
    Related citations
  • Lyon DE, Cohen R, Chen H, Kelly DL, Starkweather A, Ahn HC, Jackson-Cook CK. The relationship of cognitive performance to concurrent symptoms, cancer- and cancer-treatment-related variables in women with early-stage breast cancer: a 2-year longitudinal study. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol. 2016 Jul;142(7):1461-74. doi: 10.1007/s00432-016-2163-y. PubMed PMID: 27102492; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4900943.
  • Lynch Kelly D, Lyon DE, Yoon SL, Horgas AL. The Microbiome and Cancer: Implications for Oncology Nursing Science. Cancer Nurs. 2016 May-Jun;39(3):E56-62. doi: 10.1097/NCC.0000000000000286. PubMed PMID: 26110573.For a complete list of publications, go to the following: