Emma Lees, PhD - Bristol Myers Squibb

Senior Vice President, Head of Mechanisms of Cancer Resistance Thematic Research Center, Cambridge Site Head

Emma Lees, PhD

Senior Vice President, Head of Mechanisms of Cancer Resistance Thematic Research Center, Cambridge Site Head

Cambridge, MA


Emma Lees is responsible for leading Bristol Myers Squibb’s mechanisms of cancer resistance thematic research center in Cambridge, MA. Here, Emma and her team primarily focus on examining cancer biology, utilizing their strong expertise in tumor intrinsic biology to gain valuable insights on why patients don’t respond or stop responding to therapies.


Emma also helps define and create a vision for the company’s presence in Cambridge, working with other leaders to develop objectives and drive a culture aligned with Bristol Myers Squibb’s global strategy. 


“The vision of Cambridge is to leverage integrated teams, with scientists coming together from different disciplines to try and solve the problem of cancer resistance," said Lees. “In doing so, we are working with a cross-functional discovery team in order to interrogate the problem, with a unique model that stands out among the biopharmaceutical industry.”


Emma holds a PhD from Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London, England, and has worked on both coasts of the U.S., spending time at the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, DNAX Research Institute/Schering-Plough and most recently, Jounce Therapeutics.

Interests and Expertise

A passionate leader, Emma has always been fascinated by science of all kinds, from the time she picked up her first chemistry set as a child to where she is now, leading a team of scientists tasked with solving the big questions in cancer research.


“I feel privileged that I’ve always been able to do something that I’m really passionate about. Life is about being deliberate and being passionate and I feel lucky that I’ve been able to follow this dream.”


When she’s not in the lab, Emma enjoys spending time her family. She especially appreciates outdoor physical activities like hiking because it’s a great way to clear her mind and return to the lab with fresh perspective.

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