Rose attended Washington State University for one year prior to serving in the Navy during World World War World War II Upon returning from the war he received his Bachelor of Science degree in 1948 and his Doctor of Philosophy in biochemistry in 1952, both from the University of Chicago.
Rose served on the faculty of Yale School of Medicine"s department of biochemistry from 1954 to 1963. He then joined the Fox Chase Cancer Center in 1963 and stayed there until he retired in 1995. He joined University of Pennsylvania during the 1970s and served as a Professor of Physical Biochemistry.
He was a distinguished professor-in-residence in the Department of Physiology and Biophysics at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine at the time his Nobel Prize was announced in 2004.
Irwin (Ernie) trained several postdoctoral research fellows while at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. These included Art Haas, the first to see Ubiquitin chains, Keith Wilkinson, the one to first identify Association des Paralysés de France-1 as Ubiquitin, and Cecile Pickart, a world class enzymologist in many parts of the Ub system.
Member of National Academy of Sciences.
Married Zelda Budenstein. 4 children.