Cancer Imaging Expert to Lead Radiology at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia

Sep 21, 2009


Lawrence H. Schwartz, M.D., a radiologist best known for advancing the use of computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in oncologic imaging, has been named chair of the Department of Radiology of Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons and radiologist-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.

When he assumes these roles this fall, Dr. Schwartz will oversee a 52-member department and direct its patient care, research and educational initiatives. Currently, Dr. Schwartz is vice chair for technology development in the Department of Radiology and director of MRI at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and a professor of radiology at Weill Cornell Medical College.

Dr. Schwartz is internationally recognized for the innovative application of new technology in imaging to improve both clinical care and drug discovery. Renowned in the field of oncologic imaging, he is an authority on the development and validation of imaging biomarkers. His research has focused on new computational and functional techniques that utilize physiologic imaging and advanced image processing to assess and correlate imaging characteristics with molecular features of disease processes, in particular solid tumors of the chest, abdomen and pelvis. At MSKCC, Dr. Schwartz founded the Laboratory for Computational Image Analysis, which focuses on advanced image processing to quantitatively assess therapeutic efficacy in clinical care and drug discovery.

Dr. Schwartz has also achieved international recognition in the field of medical informatics. He was the principal collaborator with IBM in the development of continuous speech voice recognition for radiology reporting and with GE in the development of one of the first enterprise-wide Picture Archiving and Communications Systems (PACS).

"We are pleased to have such an accomplished scientist-clinician joining us," said Lee Goldman, M.D., executive vice president of Columbia University and dean of the faculties of health sciences and medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. "With the recent emphasis in medicine on electronic storage of patient data and advances in imaging technologies, Dr. Schwartz's research interests in this area are highly relevant as we work to harness new technology capabilities to better provide patient care."

"Dr. Schwartz's expertise in oncologic imaging will help us continue to provide our cancer patients with the most modern, least invasive means to effectively manage their care," said Herbert Pardes, M.D., president and CEO, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital. "For a patient facing a difficult diagnosis like cancer, getting a clear picture of their disease and the progress of their treatment is vital to ensuring an optimal outcome."

"I look forward to collaborating with Columbia's renowned experts in biomedical informatics, engineering, oncology and other specialties, while leading its superb radiology faculty," said Dr. Schwartz. "I am also excited to be leading the work of the Department of Radiology as its scientists develop new imaging paradigms and apply imaging technologies in the laboratory toward improving care for patients at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia. And I look forward to teaching Columbia's stellar medical students about the nuances of radiology — from anatomy to the growing number of applications in functional imaging."

Dr. Schwartz has been awarded multiple grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Department of Defense. He collaborates extensively in multisite clinical trials and is chairman of the Imaging Committee at Cancer and Leukemia Group B, a national oncology cooperative group. He works with the NIH on open source and shared data projects. Dr. Schwartz is a founding member of the Quantitative Imaging Biomarker Alliance, where he chairs the computed tomography study group. Scientists worldwide may now use imaging data as a shared resource from one of Dr. Schwartz's recently completed studies: Zhao, B., Schwartz, L., et al., Evaluating Variability in Tumor Measurements from Same-day Repeat CT Scans of Patients with Non–Small Cell Lung Cancer, Radiology, 2009 Jul; 252(1): 263-72 (

His contributions to radiological science have been acknowledged with numerous awards, including the Boyer Award in Clinical Research from MSKCC and the Radiological Society of North America's Eugene P. Pendergrass New Horizons Lecturer award, for which he delivered a lecture titled "Imaging in Drug Discovery: Emerging Roles and Challenges for Radiology." The author of more than 180 peer-reviewed publications related to oncologic imaging, Dr. Schwartz serves on the editorial boards of the American Journal of Roentgenology, the Journal of Interventional Oncology and the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Dr. Schwartz serves on several national committees, including as distinguished science advisor for the RSNA Research and Education fund; and the Oncology Biomarker Qualification Initiative of the National Cancer Institute, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. He is a member of the Radiological Society of North America, the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine, the New York Roentgen Ray Society, the Society for Computer Applications in Radiology, the American Roentgen Ray Society and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network. He is also a fellow of the International Cancer Imaging Society.

Dr. Schwartz received his undergraduate and medical degrees from Boston University. After an internship in internal medicine, he completed his residency at New York Hospital, now NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, where he was chief resident. He completed a fellowship in cross sectional imaging at Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Schwartz succeeds Ronald L. Van Heertum, M.D., professor and vice chairman of the Department of Radiology, who has served as interim chair of radiology and interim radiologist-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia since March 2008.

History of the Department of Radiology at Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia:

The birth of radiology occurred in December 1895, when Wilhelm C. Roentgen, professor of physics in Wuerzburg, Germany, presented a paper describing the recently discovered properties of X-rays. Within a month, Michael Pupin, Nobel Laureate and professor of physics at Columbia University, performed the first optical intensified X-ray examination in the western hemisphere. The radiograph clearly demonstrated bullet fragments in a patient's hand. Clinical radiography was quickly accepted, but the Department of Radiology at Columbia University was not established until 1934, with Ross Golden, M.D., as its first chairman. At that time, the Department began offering a three-year residency training program in radiology, making its trainees eligible for examination by the then-new American Board of Radiology, of which Dr. Golden was a member. In the decades since, Columbia and NewYork-Presbyterian have produced numerous outstanding diagnostic radiologists, many of whom have become chairs or division heads of academic radiology departments and have held leadership positions in radiologic societies.

Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, pre-clinical and clinical research, in medical and health sciences education, and in patient care. The medical center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Established in 1767, Columbia's College of Physicians & Surgeons was the first institution in the country to grant the M.D. degree and is now among the most selective medical schools in the country. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York City and state and one of the largest in the United States. For more information, please visit .

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, based in New York City, is the nation's largest not-for-profit, non-sectarian hospital, with 2,242 beds. The Hospital has nearly 2 million inpatient and outpatient visits in a year, including more than 230,000 visits to its emergency departments — more than any other area hospital. NewYork-Presbyterian provides state-of-the-art inpatient, ambulatory and preventive care in all areas of medicine at five major centers: NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/The Allen Hospital and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Westchester Division. One of the largest and most comprehensive health care institutions in the world, the Hospital is committed to excellence in patient care, research, education and community service. NewYork-Presbyterian is the #1 hospital in the New York metropolitan area and is consistently ranked among the best academic medical institutions in the nation, according to U.S.News & World Report. The Hospital has academic affiliations with two of the nation's leading medical colleges: Weill Cornell Medical College and Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

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