Schwartz combines pathology with technology at Aperio

May 1, 2011
“Pathologists are more and more involved in every aspect of patient care — from screening for disease to directing specific therapy.”

Jared N. Schwartz, MD, PhD

Chief Medical Officer, Aperio, Vista, CA. Consulting Professor of Pathology, Stanford University Medical Center Stanford, CA


Duke University Graduate School (PhD)
Duke University Medical School (MD)
Ohio State University Graduate School (MS in Mycology)
Ohio State University (BS in Microbiology)
Virginia Military Institute


Married with two great adult daughters and a great son-in-law.
I enjoy exercising, reading, photography, and gadgets.
I like to travel with my family and enjoy the culture —
particularly the food and beverages — of other countries.
I love animals, particularly cats. Sorry, dogs are okay,
but cats, like pathologists, are very independent!

The power of pathology.

Early in my career, I was on call on a holiday weekend when two members of a family died within hours of each other from what appeared to be poisoning. Using a recently developed test, in just a few hours I was able to identify the specific infectious agent that caused the deaths — and not only ruled out poison but also that the infection was not contagious from person to person. It showed me early in my career the power of specific diagnostic technologies.

A changing field.

Pathologists are more and more involved in every aspect of patient care — from screening for disease to directing specific therapy. Pathologists are at the forefront of genomics, imaging, and associated analysis, and are using information technology to help bring patient data together from many sources. Pathologists are increasingly active in turning mounds of diagnostic data into useful information that other physicians can use to provide more personalized or precise care. These changes will continue to transform the way pathologists do their work and how they interact with other physicians and patients.

Technology plus pathology.

The most common use for digital pathology is education, consultations, and a wide variety of quality-assurance activities. The most surprising — although it should not be — is personal archiving of valuable slides that cannot be replaced, such as cytology and cases where original blocks are no longer available or usable. Products that help physicians and other health professionals deal with the ever-increasing knowledge of disease processes; devices and software that provide assistance to physicians in providing higher quality and more cost-effective patient care; and tools to ensure more people have access to the high-quality care — regardless of where they live — will prove to have the greatest value.

Personnel shortages solvable.

Today's healthcare industry needs physicians to work along other professionals with many different skill sets to ensure the United States remains a leader in state-of-the-art medical devices and diagnostics. The future is great, if we adopt the new opportunities thrown in our path! Personnel shortages will be remedied as new technologies and opportunities make working in laboratories not only exciting but also professionally rewarding. The most important change needed is in attitude, how we see our role in healthcare, and a willingness to see that the tools we use do not define what we bring as professionals. In microbiology, for example, using molecular methods rather than culture is a change in how we do our job, but we are still microbiologists. This applies to every level in pathology and laboratory medicine.

Pass it on.

Aperio employs a number of student interns every summer to provide hands-on experience in digital pathology. We sponsor travel scholarships for pathology residents to attend industry conferences such as Pathology Visions. We also have provided educational grants to the College of American Pathologists' foundation.