Rochester, Minnesota




As a researcher with expertise in radiology, Christopher G. Schwarz, Ph.D., focuses on developing and improving automated software for measuring aging and disease with brain imaging. His primary focus is on developing face de-identification, also called de-facing, software that helps prevent the potential re-identification of imaging data from research participants. Dr. Schwarz also develops improved software for automatically measuring brain structure and function in Alzheimer's disease and related dementias from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). He also conducts research on more accurately measuring disease progression from longitudinal amyloid and tau positron emission tomography (PET) scans.

Focus areas

  • Privacy of research participants. Dr. Schwarz and his research group were the first to demonstrate that recent advances in face recognition software could potentially allow breach of privacy through re-identification of brain MRIs of research participants with very high accuracy. Dr. Schwarz's group also was the first to demonstrate that there is a potential for face recognition from brain PET images. They continue to measure this potential privacy risk for different types of brain imaging.
  • De-identification of brain images. Dr. Schwarz and his group have developed leading software to protect the identities of research participants by replacing face imagery in brain MRI, PET and computed tomography (CT) images. This software has been adopted by several major brain research studies. His group continues to improve this software to better protect participant privacy and preserve the ability of scientists to measure key brain research biomarkers from the altered images.
  • Measuring aging and disease in brain MRI. Research studies and clinical trials on aging and dementia require accurate and precise measurements of disease progression. Dr. Schwarz's group develops software for improved measurements of brain atrophy, brain volume, white matter disease, cortical thickness and other markers of brain structure, function and disease progression.
  • Measuring Alzheimer's disease from brain PET. Amyloid and tau PET scans of the brain are used to measure the progression of these key proteins associated with Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Schwarz and his group have developed automatic software to improve the accuracy and repeatability of these measurements.

Significance to patient care

Dr. Schwarz's research helps scientists more accurately and efficiently measure the effects of aging and disease on the brain. This work helps the field better understand the processes behind cognitive aging and dementia and to more efficiently conduct research studies and clinical trials of potential therapies. His research also helps protect the identity and privacy of medical research participants.

Professional highlights

  • Research Project Grant (R01), National Institutes of Health, 2021-2025
  • Member, Biomedical Ethics and Artificial Intelligence Advisory Council, Mayo Clinic, 2022-present
  • High-Priority Short-Term Project Award (R56), National Institutes of Health, 2020-2021
  • Young Scientist Award Honorable Mention, Alzheimer's Association, 2009


Administrative Appointment

  1. Associate Consultant II-Research, Department of Radiology

Academic Rank

  1. Associate Professor of Radiology


  1. Postdoctoral Research Fellowship - Radiology Department of Radiology
  2. PhD - Computer Science University of California, Davis
  3. BS - Computer Science University of Central Florida

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