Dr. Pearce obtained her Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology in 2005 at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, where she studied the regulation of T cell responses during infection. During her postdoctoral studies, also at the University of Pennsylvania, she began her research into how cellular metabolic processes govern immune responses to infection and cancer.
She launched her independent career in 2009, holding faculty positions at the Trudeau Institute in NY and then Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. She moved her research group to Europe in 2015 to become a Director at the Max Planck Institute for Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg, Germany. In 2018 she was awarded the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize from the DFG for her work on immunometabolism. In 2021 she became a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at the Johns Hopkins University and Scientific Director of the Bloomberg-Kimmel Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy in Baltimore.
Her work continues to investigate the connection between metabolism and cell function.