Featured Researcher: Ralston Barnes – Bristol Myers Squibb

Ralston Barnes, PhD

Ralston Barnes, PhD

Scientific Director of Transgenic Discovery, Discovery Biotherapeutics Bristol Myers Squibb

Redwood City


Ralston Barnes is the scientific director of the Transgenic Discovery group in Discovery Biotherapeutics at Redwood City. Ralston has over 20 years of experience with molecular and transgenic technologies. He leads a team that leverages cutting-edge genome engineering to develop genetic models that support therapeutic programs and drug discovery across research and early development.


Ralston is an expert in antibody discovery platform development, expertise that drives his group’s strategy and creation of novel antibody platform technologies to support new therapies for oncology, immunology and cardiovascular indication areas. The group also leads the development of novel genetic models to assess preclinical mechanistic or physiological studies for all therapeutic areas.


Ralston’s responsibilities include co-leading the team that researches genetically engineered preclinical models, evaluating external biotherapeutics and antibody technologies, and leading antibody drug conjugate preclinical programs within the tumor microenvironment portfolio aimed at leveraging new mechanisms of action to address unmet needs in oncology.


Prior to this role, Ralston was a scientist at Bristol Myers Squibb for three years leading technology development for antibody binder discovery and co-leading external partnerships with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Massachusetts General Hospital to discovery advances in influenza, the HIV vaccine and therapeutic development. Ralston received his PhD from Indiana University where he studied molecular mechanisms of congenital heart disease and was a recipient of the American Heart Association predoctoral fellowship. Ralston then completed postdoctoral training at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) where he expanded his research areas to include translational research to discover the genetic mechanism of Intractable Diarrhea of Infancy Syndrome, a severe gastrointestinal disease. Ralston is the author of one patent and various articles for 20 peer-reviewed publications.

Interests and Expertise

Ralston’s interest in biology began at a young age and as an undergrad, he decided to pursue a research career in the life sciences. Initial scientific interests were focused on developmental biology. Particularly, in understanding the mechanisms that lead to proper organogenesis and how those mechanisms are compromised in genetically defined congenital disease of the heart. A deep interest in supporting translational research and drug discovery evolved over time and following the loss of his grandparents to cancer. Ralston is enthusiastic about contributing to the development of life-changing medicines for patients and supporting multiple therapeutic areas. Outside of the lab, Ralston is a fan of winter sports and can often be found curling, skiing, and snowshoeing in the Sierras.