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    Awards: Announcing the 2017 Benjamin Franklin Award laureate
    Submitted by J.W. Bizzaro; posted on Tuesday, April 04, 2017


    We are happy to announce that the members of have chosen Rafael Irizarry of Harvard University and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute as the laureate of the 2017 Benjamin Franklin Award in the Life Sciences!

    The ceremony for the presentation of the award will be held at the 2017 Bio-IT World Conference & Expo in Boston ( It involves a short introduction, the presentation of the certificate, and the laureate seminar.

    In the words of his nominators, Rafael has dedicated his career to developing methods and open source software for helping researchers genomics data. As a biostatistician, he has made fundamental advances in the science of analyzing large, noisy and biased genomics datasets. His contributions are particularly crucial in an era where archives are filling with tens of thousands of large open datasets; to re-use and combine these in any effective way requires a careful approach that considers technical confounders, batch effects, and other issues. See e.g. his work on Frozen robust multiarray analysis (fRMA) ( & The Gene Expression Barcode (

    Rafael is also a contributor to and a leader of the influential Bioconductor project (, which has helped to popularize open source software and open software development in the genomics and statistical communities. Examples of software packages that he's developed with his trainees and collaborators include affy, gcrma, oligo, minfi, and bumphunter, all of which are among the top 75 most downloaded Bioconductor packages. Several of Rafael's trainees have also made substantial methods and open-source software contributions, including through Bioconductor.

    He is also an accomplished educator. Rafael has authored and openly released excellent teaching materials. He developed and instructs the popular R and Statistics for the Life Sciences online course at HarvardX (, enrolling over 30,000 students a year. This course is part of the HarvardX Biomedical Data Science Open Online Training Curriculum developed by Rafael. The text book used in this course can be downloaded for free, and the R markdown code used to create the book is available on GitHub (

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