Featured Researcher: Leanne Peiser – Bristol Myers Squibb

Leanne Peiser, DPhil

Leanne Peiser, DPhil

Executive Director, Cancer Immunology and Cell Therapy Translational Development

Seattle, WA


Leanne Peiser, DPhil, serves as the executive director of translational research at Bristol Myers Squibb’s Cancer Immunology and Cell Therapy Thematic Research Center in Seattle. In her role, Leanne leads a group working on translational research evaluating cellular therapies and select immuno-oncology (I-O) assets in clinical development in lymphoma, solid tumors and autoimmune diseases.


Leanne and her team aim to deliver translational insights to help accelerate program development in the I-O and cell therapy pipeline by studying pharmacodynamics, mechanisms of action, combination potential and causes of treatment resistance to identify the right therapy for the right patient. Leanne and her team are also providing clinical- and lab-based translational research for clinical-stage next-generation cellular therapies and budding I-O programs, including natural killer cell engager therapeutics in AML and multiple myeloma, and molecules targeting macrophage phagocytosis in lymphoma and AML.


Leanne joined Bristol Myers Squibb by way of Celgene in 2019, where she served as the director of I-O and cell therapy translational development. Prior to this role, Leanne was the director of discovery research at FLX Bio, where she focused on the discovery and development of novel small-molecule immunotherapies in oncology. Earlier in her career, she held roles at Gilead Sciences and Amgen discovery research.


Leanne grew up in South Africa and graduated with bachelor’s degrees in microbiology, biochemistry and medical biochemistry at the University of Cape Town. She earned her DPhil in immunology from the University of Oxford, UK.

Interests and Expertise

Leanne is an avid ultrarunner; the longest distance she has run is 62 miles (100 kilometers). She has participated in the Chicago Marathon on multiple occasions to help raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, tying together her love of running with her passion for helping people with serious diseases receive the treatment they need.


Leanne also enjoys knitting to help her relax and keep her hands busy. Her handknit shawl and sweater collection has grown exponentially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.