Emma Lees, Ph.D., Vice President

Emma Lees, Ph.D.

Vice President & Site Head of R&D

Oncology Discovery, Cambridge, MA


Emma Lees, who joined Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2018, is responsible for leading oncology discovery in the Cambridge, Mass., and central New Jersey labs. Together with her colleague Mike Quigley, they provide global leadership to all oncology discovery for BMS.


In Cambridge, Emma plays different roles in support of the R&D organization and leads a team that works closely with translational medicine scientists to focus on better understanding the complex biology of immuno-oncology (I-O) resistance.


In addition to overseeing R&D in Cambridge, Emma also helps define and create a vision for the site, working alongside Cambridge leadership to develop objectives and drive a culture aligned with Bristol-Myers Squibb’s global strategy.


“The vision of Cambridge is to build an integrated site with scientists coming together from different disciplines to try and solve the problem of I-O resistance,” says Lees. “In doing so, we are creating a new cross-functional discovery team in order to interrogate the problem and build a unique site that does not exist anywhere else in the organization.”


Emma holds a Ph.D. 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.