Irene Virgolini was appointed as a University lecturer (venia docendi ) for Experimental Nuclear Medicine in 1992 with her work on functional liver scintigraphy and then 1995 in Internal Medicine (venia docendi) with her work on oncological receptor scintigraphy at the Medical University of Vienna. In 2000, Virgolini became the Director of the Institute of Nuclear Medicine at the Vienna City Hospital Lainz. In 2003, she was appointed Director of the University Clinic of Nuclear Medicine at the Medical University of Innsbruck and became the Full Professor of Nuclear Medicine. Since then the further expansion of the Innsbruck University Clinic for Nuclear Medicine in Clinic, Research and Teaching has taken place. Since 2018 Virgolini also works as a Councillor for the Medical University of Vienna.
Irene Virgolini's focus in clinical research lies in the development and preclinical validation of new radiopharmaceuticals for Nuclear Medicine for diagnosis and therapy. Under the lead of Virgolini several new Nuclear Medicine tracer procedures have been clinically established. The Nuclear Medicine Department of the Medical University Innsbruck is involved in national and international co-operation, including the participation in expert committees as well as in scientific projects of the IAEA, both in preclinical development and in the clinical application of radiopharmaceuticals both for diagnosis and therapy. Virgolini`s work is also concerned with the patient-related "quality of life" within the scope of individualized high-dose therapy. Her clinical work and recent research has focused on the treatment of metastasized prostate cancer.
Virgolini has published more than 200 papers, her total impact factor is around 1000, the Hirsch Index 35 (based on Web of Science). She presented more than 300 lectures on the topics of molecular imaging and therapy worldwide. In 2018 Virgolini became the President of the international society WARMTH (World Association of Radiopharmaceutical Therapy).