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Blockchain: Blockchain for Genomics

Information on the Thesis

Type of Final Thesis: Bachelor, Master
Supervisor: Scott Thiebes
Research Group: Critical Information Infrastructures

Archive Number: 4.404
Status of Thesis: Open

Further Information


Recently, Distributed ledger technology (DLT; e.g., Blockchain) emerged as a means to enable immutable transactions between untrustworthy parties, which are kept in a consistent state through automated, algorithm-based consensus building mechanisms, thus eliminating the need for third-party trust enforcement. In genomics, DLT’s recent popularity has led to the formation of several startups that mostly aim to establish market places where individuals can resell access to their personal genome data in exchange for some crypto currencies. However, these platforms are still in their infancy and many questions with regard to the application of DLT in genomics remain unanswered.


Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Opportunities and challenges for the applications of blockchain in genomics
  • Analysis of the market for blockchain-based platforms in genomics
  • Attitudes towards blockchain-based genome data markets
  • Development of a blockchain platform for genomics research (in cooperation with DKFZ in Heidelberg)
  • Distributed AI and blockchain in genomics

This is an umbrella topic since topics of interest change rapidly. Students are encouraged to propose a topic of interest to them within the topic area.

Introductory literature:

Ozercan, H. I., Ileri, A. M., Ayday, E., & Alkan, C. (2018). Realizing the potential of blockchain technologies in genomics. Genome research, 28(9), 1255-1263. Available at: https://genome.cshlp.org/content/28/9/1255.short

Shabani, M. (2018). Blockchain-based platforms for genomic data sharing: a de-centralized approach in response to the governance problems?. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 26(1), 76-80. Available at: https://academic.oup.com/jamia/advance-article/doi/10.1093/jamia/ocy149/5211361

Mackey, T. K., Kuo, T. T., Gummadi, B., Clauson, K. A., Church, G., Grishin, D., ... & Palombini, M. (2019). ‘Fit-for-purpose?’–challenges and opportunities for applications of blockchain technology in the future of healthcare. BMC medicine, 17(1), 68. Available at: https://bmcmedicine.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12916-019-1296-7