Dr. 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 Department of Biostatistics in the Bloomberg School of Public Health in 1998 and was promoted to Professor in 2007. For the past ten years, Dr. Irizarry's work has focused on Genomics and Computational Biology problems. In particular, he has worked on the analysis and pre-processing of microarray, second-generation sequencing, and genomic data. He is currently interested in leveraging his knowledge in translational work, e.g. developing diagnostic tools and discovering biomarkers.
Dr. Irizarry also develops open source software implementing his statistical methodology. His software tools are widely used and he is one of the leaders and founders of the Bioconductor Project, an open source and open development software project for the analysis of genomic data. Bioconductor provides the most widely used software tool for the analysis of microarray data and garnered a 2003 Insightful Innovation Award.
In 2009, the Committee of Presidents of Statistical Societies (COPSS) named Dr. Irizarry the Presidents' Award winner. The Presidents' Award is arguably the profession's most prestigious award honoring early career contributions. Dr. Irizarry also received the 2009 Mortimer Spiegelman Award which honors an outstanding public health statistician under age 40. He also won 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. Dr Irizarry was also named a fellow of the American Statistical Association in 2009.
Three of Dr. Irizarry's numerous publications have been named Fast Breaking Paper, New Hot Paper, or Current Classic Paper in Mathematics by Thomson Essential Science Indicators (ESI). According to the ESI's Scientist Rankings, he is one of the most highly cited researchers in Mathematics and Computer Science. One of his publications won the 2004 American Statistical Association (ASA) Outstanding Statistical Application Award. He was awarded the ASA Youden Award in Interlaboratory Testing for another of his publications. Dr. Irizarry co-edited Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Solutions using R and Bioconductor (Springer 2005), which has been translated to Chinese and Japanese.