dr. H.G. Schnack

dr. H.G. Schnack

Assistant Professor
dr. H.G. Schnack
  • Psychiatry

Research Programs




As a physicist in a multidisciplinary environment, I enjoy creating mathematical models to understand the relationships between human brain and behavior in health and disease. Starting as postdoc in the UMCU neuroimaging group, I set up an image-processing pipeline for quantitative analysis of thousands of MRI brain images. As assistant professor, I implemented advanced statistical analyses to study dynamic changes in brain morphology. Central in my research have always been how (image) data represents information and how knowledge of data quality can be used to perform optimal analyses. Applied to multicenter imaging studies, my work resulted in a method to determine reliability of, for example, (twin) heritability or longitudinal studies. At that time the first machine learning steps in this field were made and I realized that multivariate modeling much better uses all the information available in brain images. My expertise on reliability and individual variation enabled me to shift my focus, from group-level analyses to making predictions about individuals, based on their data. My team performed the first large-scale study to classify persons with and without schizophrenia based on MRI brain images. In recent years, we have developed and applied machine learning methods to further investigate the heterogeneity of brain diseases. For multicenter designs, we recently have developed meta-modeling. I have expanded the use of pattern recognition analyses to applications in other domains, including clinical data and vocabulary data. The latter work is in collaboration with the Faculty of Humanities, Dept. of Languages, within the strategic theme Dynamics of Youth. Since 2016 I have been appointed part-time Assistant professor in that Department. In the coming years, I plan to do research on models to predict people’s development of (psychiatric) disorders in the first twenty years of their lives. This requires further development of machine learning in multicenter, multimodal and cross-diagnostic settings. Since the development of such models will be a multi-disciplinary effort, it is essential to introduce the next generation of researchers to this field in my lectures on topics with integrated state-of-the-art machine learning, to engage them in future innovation.

Research line

Patterns in Psychiatry

Most recent key publications

1. Dluhoš P, Schwarz D, Cahn W, van Haren N, Kahn R, Španiel F, Horáček J, Kašpárek T, Schnack H. Multi-center machine learning in imaging psychiatry: A meta-model approach. Neuroimage. 2017 Apr 17;155:10-24.

2. Schnack HG, van Haren NE, Nieuwenhuis M, Hulshoff Pol HE, Cahn W, Kahn RS. Accelerated Brain Aging in Schizophrenia: A Longitudinal Pattern Recognition Study. Am J Psychiatry. 2016 Jun 1;173(6):607-16.

3. Schnack, H. G. and Kahn, R. S. (2016). "Detecting neuroimaging biomarkers for psychiatric disorders: sample size matters." Frontiers in Psychiatry 7: 50.

4. Schnack HG, van Haren NE, Brouwer RM, Evans A, Durston S, Boomsma DI, Kahn RS, Hulshoff Pol HE, Changes in thickness and surface area of the human cortex and their relationship with intelligence. Cereb Cortex 25:1608-1617 (2015).

5. Schnack HG, Nieuwenhuis M, van Haren NE, Abramovic L, Scheewe TW, Brouwer RM, Hulshoff Pol HE, Kahn RS, Can structural MRI aid in clinical classification? A machine learning study in two independent samples of patients with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and healthy subjects. Neuroimage 84:299-306 (2014)

6. Nieuwenhuis M, van Haren NE, Hulshoff Pol HE, Cahn W, Kahn RS, Schnack HG, Classification of schizophrenia patients and healthy controls from structural MRI scans in two large independent samples. NeuroImage 61:606-612 (2012).

7. Brouwer RM, Hulshoff Pol HE, Schnack HG, Segmentation of MRI Brain Scans Using Non-Uniform Partial Volume Densities. NeuroImage 49:467-477 (2010).

Fellowship and Awards

1: Seed money Dynamics of Youth, University Utrecht, 2013 (PODIUM project)

Research Output (177)

Assessment of Neuroanatomical Endophenotypes of Autism Spectrum Disorder and Association With Characteristics of Individuals With Schizophrenia and the General Population

Hwang Gyujoon, Wen Junhao, Sotardi Susan, Brodkin Edward S, Chand Ganesh B, Dwyer Dominic B, Erus Guray, Doshi Jimit, Singhal Pankhuri, Srinivasan Dhivya, Varol Erdem, Sotiras Aristeidis, Dazzan Paola, Kahn Rene S, Schnack Hugo G, Zanetti Marcus V, Meisenzahl Eva, Busatto Geraldo F, Crespo-Facorro Benedicto, Pantelis Christos, Wood Stephen J, Zhuo Chuanjun, Shinohara Russell T, Shou Haochang, Fan Yong, Di Martino Adriana, Koutsouleris Nikolaos, Gur Raquel E, Gur Ruben C, Satterthwaite Theodore D, Wolf Daniel H, Davatzikos Christos 5 Apr 2023, In: JAMA Psychiatry. 80 , p. 498-507 10 p.

Semantic and Acoustic Markers in Schizophrenia-Spectrum Disorders:A Combinatory Machine Learning Approach

Voppel Alban E., de Boer Janna N., Brederoo Sanne G., Schnack Hugo G., Sommer Iris E.C. 22 Mar 2023, In: Schizophrenia bulletin. 49 , p. S163-S171 9 p.

fMRI connectivity as a biomarker of antipsychotic treatment response:A systematic review

Dominicus L. S., van Rijn L., van der A J., van der Spek R., Podzimek D., Begemann M., de Haan L., van der Pluijm M., Otte W. M., Cahn W., Röder C. H., Schnack H. G., van Dellen E. Jan 2023, In: NeuroImage: Clinical. 40 , p. 1-18 18 p.

Psychosis brain subtypes validated in first-episode cohorts and related to illness remission:results from the PHENOM consortium

Dwyer Dominic B, Chand Ganesh B, Pigoni Alessandro, Khuntia Adyasha, Wen Junhao, Antoniades Mathilde, Hwang Gyujoon, Erus Guray, Doshi Jimit, Srinivasan Dhivya, Varol Erdem, Kahn Rene S, Schnack Hugo G, Meisenzahl Eva, Wood Stephen J, Zhuo Chuanjun, Sotiras Aristeidis, Shinohara Russell T, Shou Haochang, Fan Yong, Schaulfelberger Maristela, Rosa Pedro, Lalousis Paris A, Upthegrove Rachel, Kaczkurkin Antonia N, Moore Tyler M, Nelson Barnaby, Gur Raquel E, Gur Ruben C, Ritchie Marylyn D, Satterthwaite Theodore D, Murray Robin M, Di Forti Marta, Ciufolini Simone, Zanetti Marcus V, Wolf Daniel H, Pantelis Christos, Crespo-Facorro Benedicto, Busatto Geraldo F, Davatzikos Christos, Koutsouleris Nikolaos, Dazzan Paola 2023, In: Molecular Psychiatry. 28 , p. 2008-2017 10 p.

Muva physical activity intervention to improve social functioning in people with a severe mental illness:study protocol of a pragmatic stepped wedge cluster randomized trial

Koomen Lisanne Elisabeth Maria, van de Meent Ilona Hendrika Theodora, Deenik Jeroen, van Dellen Edwin, Schnack Hugo Gerard, van Werkhoven Henri, Swildens Wilma Elisabeth, van Meijel Berno, Staal Wouter, Jörg Frederike, Scheepers Floortje, Cahn Wiepke Dec 2022, In: BMC Psychiatry. 22

Schizophrenia Imaging Signatures and Their Associations With Cognition, Psychopathology, and Genetics in the General Population

Chand Ganesh B, Singhal Pankhuri, Dwyer Dominic B, Wen Junhao, Erus Guray, Doshi Jimit, Srinivasan Dhivya, Mamourian Elizabeth, Varol Erdem, Sotiras Aristeidis, Hwang Gyujoon, Dazzan Paola, Kahn Rene S, Schnack Hugo G, Zanetti Marcus V, Meisenzahl Eva, Busatto Geraldo F, Crespo-Facorro Benedicto, Pantelis Christos, Wood Stephen J, Zhuo Chuanjun, Shinohara Russell T, Shou Haochang, Fan Yong, Koutsouleris Nikolaos, Kaczkurkin Antonia N, Moore Tyler M, Verma Anurag, Calkins Monica E, Gur Raquel E, Gur Ruben C, Ritchie Marylyn D, Satterthwaite Theodore D, Wolf Daniel H, Davatzikos Christos 12 Apr 2022, In: American Journal of Psychiatry. 179 , p. 650-660 11 p.

Genetic variants associated with longitudinal changes in brain structure across the lifespan

Brouwer Rachel M, Klein Marieke, Grasby Katrina L, Schnack Hugo G, Jahanshad Neda, Teeuw Jalmar, Thomopoulos Sophia I, Sprooten Emma, Franz Carol E, Gogtay Nitin, Kremen William S, Panizzon Matthew S, Olde Loohuis Loes M, Whelan Christopher D, Aghajani Moji, Alloza Clara, Alnæs Dag, Artiges Eric, Ayesa-Arriola Rosa, Barker Gareth J, Bastin Mark E, Blok Elisabet, Bøen Erlend, Breukelaar Isabella A, Bright Joanna K, Buimer Elizabeth E L, Bülow Robin, Cannon Dara M, Ciufolini Simone, Crossley Nicolas A, Damatac Christienne G, Dazzan Paola, de Mol Casper L, de Zwarte Sonja M C, Desrivières Sylvane, Díaz-Caneja Covadonga M, Janssen Joost, Koevoets Martijn G J C, Mandl René C W, Setiaman Nikita, van Haren Neeltje E M, Westeneng Henk-Jan, van Eijk Kristel R, Cahn Wiepke, Hillegers Manon, Kahn Rene S, Ophoff Roel A, van den Berg Leonard H, Veldink Jan H, Hulshoff Pol Hilleke E, Apr 2022, In: Nature Neuroscience. 25 , p. 421-432 12 p.

Longitudinal Allometry of Sulcal Morphology in Health and Schizophrenia

Janssen Joost, Alloza Clara, Díaz-Caneja Covadonga M, Santonja Javier, Pina-Camacho Laura, Gordaliza Pedro M, Fernández-Pena Alberto, Lois Noemi González, Buimer Elizabeth E L, van Haren Neeltje E M, Cahn Wiepke, Vieta Eduard, Castro-Fornieles Josefina, Bernardo Miquel, Arango Celso, Kahn René S, Hulshoff Pol Hilleke E, Schnack Hugo G 22 Mar 2022, In: The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience. 42 , p. 3704-3715 12 p.

Adverse childhood experiences and fronto-subcortical structures in the developing brain

Buimer Elizabeth E L, Brouwer Rachel M, Mandl René C W, Pas Pascal, Schnack Hugo G, Hulshoff Pol Hilleke E 2022, In: Frontiers in Psychiatry. 13

All research output

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