James Stephen Marron

James Stephen Marron, PhD

Department of Biostatistics
Amos Hawley Distinguished Professor
Department of Statistics and Operations Research
352 Hanes Hall
CB #3260
Chapel Hill, NC 27599


Dr. James Stephen Marron is the Amos Hawley Distinguished Professor in UNC's Department of Statistics and Operations Research as well as a professor in the Department of Biostatistics at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health.

Dr. Marron is widely recognized as a world research leader in the statistical disciplines of high dimensional, functional and object oriented data analysis, as well as data visualization. He has made broad major contributions ranging from the invention of innovative new statistical methods, through software development and on to statistical and mathematical theory.

His research continues with a number of ongoing deep, interdisciplinary research collaborations with colleagues in Computer Science, Genetics, Medicine, Mathematics and Biology. A special strength is his strong record of mentoring graduate students, postdocs and junior faculty, in both statistics and also related disciplinary fields.

Teaching Interests

Dr. Marron has taught a variety of courses in the Department of Statistics and Operations Research.

Research Activities

Dr. Marron's current interests are in the area of analyzing data that lie in non-standard spaces. The contexts include High Dimension Low Sample Size (HDLSS) data,and/or data exotic data types such as manifold and tree-structured data. An overarching framework for this research is Object Oriented Data Analysis (OODA). This work is motivated by collaborations in cancer research, genetics, image analysis, evolutionary biology, drug discovery and toxicology. It has spawned a new branch of mathematical statistics: HDLSS asymptotics, where the limiting operation has the dimension growing while the sample size is fixed.

Dr. Marron's previous theoretical interests were in smoothing methods for curve estimation. These give a flexible and powerful approach to data analysis, especially useful in situations where a good parametric model is unknown, or there is a need for visual model checking. Mathematical analysis, especially a wide array of asymptotics, to the depth of minimax lower bounds, is a frequently used methodological research tool in this area. However computational, numerical and graphical methods are also indispensable. These techniques are broadly applicable in most areas of science where numbers and uncertainty are involved. Personal application areas include biology, economics, geology, human movement, image analysis, marketing, ophthalmology and software engineering.

Service Activities

Mary Upson Distinguished Professor, Cornell University, August 2001 – May 2002
Visiting Faculty Member, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 2002-
Visiting Scientist, CSIRO, Australia, September 1994 - June 1995
Visiting Fellow, Australian Graduate School of Management, University of New South Wales, September 1994 - June 1995
Visiting Fellow, Centre for Mathematics and Its Applications, Australian National University, July - August 1994
Visiting Fellow, Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, Berkeley, California, December 1991
Visiting Fellow, Belgian National Science Foundation, Limburg University Center, May - June 1991
Visiting Scientist, Mathematical Sciences Institute, Cornell University, June - July 1989
Visiting Fellow, Department of Statistics, Institute of Advanced Studies, Australian National University, January - February 1989
Adjunct Faculty Member, Department of Statistics, North Carolina State University, Oct. 1988 - May 1989
Visiting Lecturer, Department of Statistics, Faculty of Economics, Australian National University, July - October 1986
Research Fellow, Sonderforschungsbereich 303, Universität Bonn, April - May, 1986, May - October 1988
Research Fellow, Sonderforschungsbereich 123, Universität Heidelberg, April - June, 1984
Graduate Student, Department of Statistics, University of California, Berkeley, July 1981 - June 1982
Program Committee, 40th Symposium on the Interface: Computing Science and Statistics, May 2008
Chair, American Statistical Association, Nonparametric Statistics Section, 2005-2006
External Reviewer of Statistics Program, University of California, Davis, May 2005. CAMDA2004 (Critical Assessment of Microarray Data Analysis) Scientific Committee Member Sigmetrics 2003 Program Committee Member
Co-Chair of Program Network Modeling for the Internet, Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute, Fall 2003
Program Committee, 54th Meeting of the International Statistical Institute – Bernoulli Society, Berlin, 2003
Program Chair, American Statistical Association, Nonparametric Statistics Section, Joint Statistical Meetings, San Francisco, August 2003
Program Committee, International Conference on Current Advances and Trends in Nonparametric Statistics, July 15-19, 2002, Crete, Greece
Council Member, Institute of Mathematical Statistics, 2002-2005
Advisory Committee, Workshop on Developments and Challenges in Mixture Models, Bump Hunting and Measurement Error Models, June 2 to 4, 2002, Case Western Reserve University
Program Review of Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Queens University for the Ontario Graduate Council, April 2002.
Reviewer of the National Science Foundation IGERT grant at Brown University, March, 2002
Organizer of Session: Internet: Network Management and Engineering Performance, 53rd Meeting of the International Statistical Institute, Seoul, Korea, August 2001
Organizer of NISS Affiliates Workshop on Internet Traffic Modeling and Analysis, March 9-10, 2001
Program Chair, Statistical Computing Section, American Statistical Association, 2000
Member, IMS Publications Committee, 1997-2000, Chair 1999-2000.
SIGKDD Data Mining, Awards Committee, 1999
External reviewer: Department of Statistics, University of South Carolina, Columbia, 1999
Organizing Committee Member: NSF workshop: Bumps, Jumps, Clustering, and Discrimination, Rice University, May 1997
Publications Liaison Officer, Statistical Computing Section, American Statistical Association, 1997-1999
Senior Fellow, National Institute of Statistical Science, 1996-1999.Panelist: NSF CAREER Award Panel, 1996
Member, IMS Nominations Committee, 1995-1996
Organizer of Session “Fast Implementations of Smoothers”, Symposium on the Interface Between Statistics and Computer Science, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, June 1994
Executive Board Member, North Carolina Chapter of the American Statistical Association, 1992-1993
Program Committee, IMS Annual Meeting, Atlanta, August 1991.
Organizer (with David Ruppert) of Cornell University, Mathematical Sciences Institute, Workshop: Function Estimation and Statistical Applications, June 13-16, 1990
Organizer and Chair of Session “Bootstrapping in Curve Estimation”, Symposium on the Interface Between Statistics and Computer Science, East Lansing, Michigan, May 1990
Organizer and Chair of Session “Smoothing Parameter Selection”, IMS Meeting, Baltimore, Maryland, April 1990
Official CBMS observer to NSF/CBMS Regional Conference, “Mathematical Statistics - Spline and Partial Spline Models”, Columbus, Ohio, March 1987
Organizing Committee member, AMS Workshop on “Function Estimates”, Arcata, California, July 1985

Editorial Activities:
Associate Editor of Electronic Journal of Statistics, 2007-
Associate Editor of Computational Statistics, 1992-2004
Associate Editor of Journal of Nonparametric Statistics, 1991-2003
Associate Editor of Test, 1996-2002
Associate Editor of the Theory and Methods section of The Journal of the American Statistical Association, 1988-1999.
Associate Editor of The Annals of Statistics, 1987-1991
Editor of Proceedings of Workshop on “Function Estimates”, Volume 59 in AMS Series “Contemporary Mathematics” 1986

Referee for:
Annals of Biomedical Engineering, Annals of Statistics, Annals of the Institute of Statistical Mathematics, Australian Journal of Statistics, Bioinformatics, Biometrics, Biometrika, Canadian Journal of Statistics, Communications in Statistics, Computational Statistics and Data Analysis, Computer Aided Design, Econometric Reviews, Econometric Theory, Econometrica, Electronic Communications in Probability, Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute Journal, Empirical Economics, Environmental and Ecological Statistics, Genome Biology, Genome Research, IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, IEEE Transactions on Medical Imaging, IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, International Statistical Review, Journal of the American Statistical Association, Journal of Applied Mathematics and Stochastic Analysis, Journal of Computational and Graphical Statistics, Journal of Econometrics, Journal of Multivariate of Analysis, Journal of Statistical Computation and Simulation, Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, Series B, The Lancet, Machine Learning, Metrika, Monthly Weather Review, Pakistan Journal of Statistics, Sankhya, Scanning Microscopy, Scandinavian Journal of Statistics, SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics, South African Statistical Journal, Statistica Neerlandica, Statistica Sinica, Statistical Papers, The Statistician, Statistics, Statistics and Computing, Statistics and Probability Letters, Statistics in Medicine, Stochastic Processes and Their Applications, Technometrics and The American Statistician


  • PhD, Mathematics, University of California, Los Angeles, 1982
  • MS, Mathematics, University of California, Los Angeles, 1980
  • BS, Mathematics, Universtiy of California, Davis, 1977