Rafael Irizarry received his Bachelor’s in Mathematics in 1993 from the University of Puerto Rico and went on to receive a Ph.D. in Statistics in 1998 from the University of California, Berkeley. His thesis work was on Statistical Models for Music Sound Signals. He joined the faculty of the Johns Hopkins Department of Biostatistics in 1998 and was promoted to Professor in 2007. He is now Professor and Chair of the Department of Data Science at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Professor of Biostatistics at Harvard School of Public Health.
Professor Irizarry is an applied statistician generally interested in using data to help solve real-world problems. During his career he as worked and co-authored papers on a variety of topics including musical sound signals, infectious diseases, circadian patterns in health, fetal health monitoring, estimating the effects of Hurricane María in Puerto Rico, and COVID19 vaccine effectiveness. His main focus during the last two decades has been in Genomics. Specifically, he has worked on the analysis and signal processing of data generated by emerging high-throughput technologies. He has distinguished himself by disseminating statistical methodology as open source software shared through the Bioconductor Project, a leading open source and open development software project for the analysis of high-throughput genomic data. His widely downloaded software tools have helped him become one of the most highly cited scientist in his field.
Professor Irizarry’s is also dedicated to education. This is best demonstrated by the success of the numerous trainees he has mentored. He has also developed some of the most popular online courses on data analysis, which have been completed by tens of thousands of students. These courses are divided into three series: Professional Certificate in Data Science, Data Analysis for the Life Sciences and Genomics Data Analysis. He shares the material for these courses through textbooks that are freely available online and reproducible code through GitHub.
Professor Irizarry also dedicates his time providing service to the profession. Examples of this work include serving as the chair of the Genomics, Computational Biology and Technology Study Section (GCAT) National Institute of Health (NIH) study section, the search committee for the National Library of Medicine director, the National Academy of Sciences Gulf War and Health Committee, and the National Advisory Council for Human Genome Research.
Professor Irizarry has received several awards honoring the work described above. In 2009, the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS) named him the Presidents’ Award winner, arguably the most prestigious award in Statistics. That year he was also named a fellow of the American Statistical Association. In 2017 the members of Bioinformatics.org chose Professor Irizarry the laureate of the Benjamin Franklin Award in the Life Sciences. In 2020 he became an ISCB Fellows. He has also received the 2019 Research Parasite Award for outstanding contributions to the rigorous secondary analysis of data, the 2009 Mortimer Spiegelman Award which honors an outstanding public health statistician under age 40, the ASA Youden Award in Interlaboratory Testing, the 2004 American Statistical Association (ASA) Outstanding Statistical Application Award, and the 2001 American Statistical Association Noether Young Scholar Award for researcher younger than 35 years of age who has significant research accomplishments in nonparametrics statistics.
Mailing address: CLSB 11007, 450 Brookline Ave, Boston, MA 02215
email: rafael_irizarry at dfci dot harvard dot edu
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