Robert Gentleman (statistician)

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Robert Gentleman
Robert Gentleman
Robert Clifford Gentleman

1959 (age 63–64)[citation needed]
Alma materUniversity of Washington
University of British Columbia
Known forR (programming language)
AwardsBenjamin Franklin Award (Bioinformatics)
Scientific career
University of Washington
Harvard University
University of Waterloo
The University of Auckland
ThesisExploratory methods for censored data (1988)
Doctoral advisorJohn James Crowley[1]

Robert Clifford Gentleman (born 1959) is a Canadian statistician and bioinformatician[2] who is currently the founding executive director of the Center for Computational Biomedicine at Harvard Medical School. He was previously the vice president of computational biology at 23andMe.[3][4] Gentleman is recognized, along with Ross Ihaka, as one of the originators of the R programming language[5][6] and the Bioconductor project.[7][8]


Gentleman was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from the University of British Columbia.[3] He was awarded a Ph.D. degree in statistics from University of Washington in 1988; his thesis title was Exploratory methods for censored data.[9]

Research and career[edit]

Gentleman worked as a statistics professor at The University of Auckland in the mid-1990s, where he developed the R programming language alongside Ross Ihaka.[5][10] In 2001, he started work on the Bioconductor project to promote the development of open-source tools for bioinformatics and computational biology. In 2009, Gentleman joined the Genentech biotechnology corporation, where he worked as a senior director in bioinformatics and computational biology.[11][12] Gentleman joined personal genomics and biotechnology company 23andMe as vice president in April 2015,[3] with the goal of bringing expertise on bioinformatics and computational drug discovery to the company.[4] Gentleman has also served on the board of the statistical software company Revolution Analytics (formerly known as REvolution Computing).[10]

Awards and honors[edit]

Gentleman won the Benjamin Franklin Award in 2008, recognising his work on the R programming language, the Bioconductor project and his commitment to data and methods sharing.[13] He was made a Fellow of the International Society for Computational Biology in 2014 for his contribution to computational biology and bioinformatics.[14] He became a fellow of the American Statistical Association in 2017.[15]


  1. ^ Robert Gentleman at the Mathematics Genealogy Project
  2. ^ Gentleman, R. (2005). "Reproducible Research: A Bioinformatics Case Study". Statistical Applications in Genetics and Molecular Biology. 4: Article2. doi:10.2202/1544-6115.1034. PMID 16646837. S2CID 17729314.
  3. ^ a b c "Bioinformatics Pioneer Robert Gentleman, Ph.D., Joins 23andMe Leadership Team". Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  4. ^ a b "Robert Gentleman on His Goals for Drug Discovery at 23andMe". Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  5. ^ a b Ihaka, R.; Gentleman, R. (1996). "R: A Language for Data Analysis and Graphics". Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics. 5 (3): 299–314. doi:10.2307/1390807. JSTOR 1390807.
  6. ^ Ashlee Vance (6 January 2009). "R, the Software, Finds Fans in Data Analysts –". The New York Times. Retrieved 17 April 2011.
  7. ^ Gentleman, R. C.; Carey, V. J.; Bates, D. M.; Bolstad, B.; Dettling, M.; Dudoit, S.; Ellis, B.; Gautier, L.; Ge, Y.; Gentry, J.; Hornik, K.; Hothorn, T.; Huber, W.; Iacus, S.; Irizarry, R.; Leisch, F.; Li, C.; Maechler, M.; Rossini, A. J.; Sawitzki, G.; Smith, C.; Smyth, G.; Tierney, L.; Yang, J. Y.; Zhang, J. (2004). "Bioconductor: Open software development for computational biology and bioinformatics". Genome Biology. 5 (10): R80. doi:10.1186/gb-2004-5-10-r80. PMC 545600. PMID 15461798.
  8. ^ Robert Gentleman at DBLP Bibliography Server Edit this at Wikidata
  9. ^ Gentleman, Robert Clifford (1988). Exploratory methods for censored data (PhD thesis). University of Washington. ProQuest 303589316.
  10. ^ a b Wolfson, Wendy. "A Bioinformatics Chief and a Gentleman". Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  11. ^ Gaudet, P.; Bairoch, A.; Field, D.; Sansone, S. -A.; Taylor, C.; Attwood, T. K.; Bateman, A.; Blake, J. A.; Bult, C. J.; Cherry, J. M.; Chisholm, R. L.; Cochrane, G.; Cook, C. E.; Eppig, J. T.; Galperin, M. Y.; Gentleman, R.; Goble, C. A.; Gojobori, T.; Hancock, J. M.; Howe, D. G.; Imanishi, T.; Kelso, J.; Landsman, D.; Lewis, S. E.; Karsch Mizrachi, I.; Orchard, S.; Ouellette, B. F. F.; Ranganathan, S.; Richardson, L.; Rocca-Serra, P. (2011). "Towards BioDBcore: A community-defined information specification for biological databases". Database. 2011: baq027. doi:10.1093/database/baq027. PMC 3017395. PMID 21205783.
  12. ^ "Genentech: Research: Robert C. Gentleman". Archived from the original on 2011-07-04. Retrieved 2011-04-17. Robert C. Gentleman Senior Director: Bioinformatics & Computational Biology
  13. ^ "Benjamin Franklin Award –". Retrieved 10 December 2016.
  14. ^ "ISCB Fellows". Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  15. ^ "ASA Fellows list". American Statistical Association. Archived from the original on 2017-12-01. Retrieved 2017-11-02.