Born and raised in Buffalo, New York and southern California, Leslie Berns earned an MFA from Yale University and a BFA from Pratt Institute, both in painting. She has exhibited work nationally and in Germany where she lived from 1994-1999. As part of the Washington Project for the Arts Experimental Media Series (2011), her video performance, Grounding, was selected for a screening at the Hirshhorn Museum. In Germany, the Deutsch-Amerikanisches Institut presented Threshold, a collaboratively choreographed, outdoor performance installation sited among the ruins of Heidelberg's Castle Garden.

Berns has taught at Parsons School of Design, American University and Maryland Institute College of Art. Currently, she is a Lecturer in Drawing, Painting and Art Theory at the University of Maryland College Park.

She lives and works in the Washington, D.C. Metro area.