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News & Events | FaceBase

News & Events

Recent publications that use FaceBase data (12 December 2023)

Privacy, bias and the clinical use of facial recognition technology: A survey of genetics professionals

Authors: Elias Aboujaoude, Janice Light, Julia E. H. Brown, W. John Boscardin, Benedikt Hallgrimsson, Ophir D. Klein

Journal: American Journal of Medical Genetics Part C: Seminars in Medical Genetics


Summary: Facial recognition technology (FRT) has been adopted as a precision medicine tool. The medical genetics field highlights both the clinical potential and privacy risks of this technology, putting the discipline at the forefront of a new digital privacy debate. Investigating how geneticists perceive the privacy concerns surrounding FRT can help shape the evolution and regulation of the field, and provide lessons for medicine and research more broadly. Five hundred and sixty‐two genetics clinicians and researchers were approached to fill out a survey, 105 responded, and 80% of these completed. The survey consisted of 48 questions covering demographics, relationship to new technologies, views on privacy, views on FRT, and views on regulation. Genetics professionals generally placed a high value on privacy, although specific views differed, were context‐specific, and covaried with demographic factors. Most respondents (88%) agreed that privacy is a basic human right, but only 37% placed greater weight on it than other values such as freedom of speech. Most respondents (80%) supported FRT use in genetics, but not necessarily for broader clinical use. A sizeable percentage (39%) were unaware of FRT’s lower accuracy rates in marginalized communities and of the mental health effects of privacy violations (62%), but most (76% and 75%, respectively) expressed concern when informed. Overall, women and those who self‐identified as politically progressive were more concerned about the lower accuracy rates in marginalized groups (88% vs. 64% and 83% vs. 63%, respectively). Younger geneticists were more wary than older geneticists about using FRT in genetics (28% compared to 56% “strongly” supported such use). There was an overall preference for more regulation, but respondents had low confidence in governments’ or technology companies’ ability to accomplish this. Privacy views are nuanced and context‐dependent. Support for privacy was high but not absolute, and clear deficits existed in awareness of crucial FRT‐related discrimination potential and mental health impacts. Education and professional guidelines may help to evolve views and practices within the field.

Comparing 2D and 3D representations for face-based genetic syndrome diagnosis

Authors: Jordan J. Bannister, Matthias Wilms, J. David Aponte, David C. Katz, Ophir D. Klein, Francois P. Bernier, Richard A. Spritz, Benedikt Hallgrímsson & Nils D. Forkert

Journal: European Journal of Human Genetics


Summary: Human genetic syndromes are often challenging to diagnose clinically. Facial phenotype is a key diagnostic indicator for hundreds of genetic syndromes and computer-assisted facial phenotyping is a promising approach to assist diagnosis. Most previous approaches to automated face-based syndrome diagnosis have analyzed different datasets of either 2D images or surface mesh-based 3D facial representations, making direct comparisons of performance challenging. In this work, we developed a set of subject-matched 2D and 3D facial representations, which we then analyzed with the aim of comparing the performance of 2D and 3D image-based approaches to computer-assisted syndrome diagnosis. This work represents the most comprehensive subject-matched analyses to date on this topic. In our analyses of 1907 subject faces representing 43 different genetic syndromes, 3D surface-based syndrome classification models significantly outperformed 2D image-based models trained and evaluated on the same subject faces. These results suggest that the clinical adoption of 3D facial scanning technology and continued collection of syndromic 3D facial scan data may substantially improve face-based syndrome diagnosis.

FaceBase Poster and Demo at the SCGDB Annual Meeting in Cincinnati (04 October 2023)

FaceBase will present a poster and provide demos at the Society for Craniofacial Genetics and Developmental Biology (SCGDB) annual meeting in Cincinnati on Wednesday, October 11.

From 5:30-7:30 pm, Dr. Alejandro Bugacov from the Information Sciences Institute at USC will present our poster titled “FaceBase: Data Sharing Community for Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Research” and provide demonstrations on how to use FaceBase and how to contribute data to the FaceBase platform.

Please direct any questions to

Flyer for SCGDB 2023 Annual Meeting

Webcast and Slides: FaceBase Virtual Bootcamp 2023 (28 September 2023)

Thanks to all those who joined us for today’s Virtual Bootcamp! If you missed it or want to access all the information we provided, here are the slides and webcasts from today:

Webcast Replays and Slides


Users track webcast

Walk through the updated website and the new documentation and discover best practices for using the search interface, proper citation practices and how to request human subjects data.

Contributors track webcast

Learn about how to fill out the updated Data Management Sharing (DMS) plans if you’re sharing data on FaceBase, the process for contributing data (including metadata and data models) and how data is curated (including updated information regarding protocols).

Please direct any questions to

FaceBase Virtual Bootcamp: Updated Features and DMS Guidance (29 August 2023)

FaceBase is hosting a virtual bootcamp tailored for both users and data contributors, whether you’re a seasoned user of FaceBase or looking to contribute data for the first time.

🗓 Date: Thursday, September 28


  • Get a tour of the the updated website and documentation site.
  • Discover new and updated features designed to enhance your data exploration experience.
  • Become familiar with the data submission process.
  • Learn how to fill out the updated Data Management Sharing (DMS) plans for sharing on FaceBase.
  • Ask questions directly from FaceBase Hub staff about data you’re looking for or data you want to contribute.


  • 1:00 pm to 2:15 pm Eastern - Users: Overview of the updated website, new documentation, search interface functionality, citation procedures, and protocol for requesting human subjects data.

  • 2:30 pm to 4:00 pm Eastern - Data Contributors: Explanation of the DMS plans regarding FaceBase contributions, procedures for contributing data, and details about the data upload curation.

This bootcamp is tailored for craniofacial researchers, biologists, geneticists, clinicians, and students interested in accessing craniofacial biomedical data, understanding updated platform functionalities, or those looking to contribute data in compliance with NIH data-sharing requirements.

Participation: Registration via Zoom is required. A confirmation email will be sent upon registration.

Full Agenda: For those seeking a detailed schedule, view the full agenda here.

Inquiries: Please direct any questions to

Explore Omics Data in FaceBase with our new video! (17 August 2023)

We are excited to announce the release of our latest educational content: a video dedicated to omics data, tailored to provide a look into the multifaceted world of genomics, transcriptomics, and epigenomics, and how they integrate within the FaceBase platform.

Highlights of the new Omics Video:

  • Finding Omics Data via Experiment Types: Understand the intricacies of genomic, transcriptomic, and epigenomic data and learn how to search for them via the Experiment Types and other facets in the Data Browser.
  • Data Visualization Tools: An inside look into our integrated visualization tools such as the UCSC Genome Browser and the UCSC Cell Browser.
  • Human Genomics Analysis Interface (HGAI): Delve into human craniofacial genomics projects, offering insights into studies of orofacial clefts, facial variations, and dental disorders.

Find this new video on our YouTube channel:

We continually strive to offer resources that enrich your research endeavors. Your feedback is invaluable to us. After watching, please take a moment to share your thoughts or suggestions for future content. Together, we can further the boundaries of craniofacial, dental, and oral research.