Bastian Greshake Tzovaras
Long term fellow
Bastian is a lapsed bioinformatician/evolutionary biologist with a keen interest in all things open* and participatory science. While working on his Master's degree he co-founded openSNP, an open data repository for personal genomic data, enabling academic & community science projects to use this data. After finishing a PhD in Bioinformatics he joined up with Open Humans to facilitate a wider re-use of personal data in learning and research. In his current work he is focused on understanding how to design community science projects to open up participation pathways that go beyond data collection and data processing.
Bastian's Bio


Bastian did a Bachelor's degree in Life Sciences at the University of Münster. During his thesis work, he worked on building web-based data analyses pipelines for second-generation sequencing data and discovered his passion for Evolution, Genomics, Bioinformatics and Open Source in general, dabbling in those fields for the first time.

Bastian continued his education at the University of Frankfurt, doing a Master in Ecology & Evolution. For his thesis he worked on detecting positive selection in freshwater snails. At the same time - spurred by his interests in personal genomics & open source - Bastian co-founded the crowdsourced open data repository openSNP with his friend Philipp. By enabling people to put their personal genomic & phenotypic data into the public domain, openSNP facilitates both citizen science projects as well as traditional academic research. With over 5,000 public data sets, openSNP is one of the largest public personal genome databases so far.

Staying in Frankfurt, Bastian went on to get a PhD in Bioinformatics, working on the evolutionary history of lichen - symbiotic organisms that consist of fungi, green algae and bacteria - to understand how the co-evolution of the symbionts influenced their genomes. While dealing with the challenges of assembling eukaryotic metagenomes, he could deepen his knowledge of both Bioinformatics and Evolutionary Biology. After finishing his PhD, Bastian joined the Berkeley Bioinformatics Open Source Project group at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory as a Visiting Scholar and joined Open Humans as Director of Research to dive deeper into enabling citizen & community science around using personal data.

Research Interests

Bastian's research interests cover a wide spectrum of disciplines. Besides working in evolutionary biology and bioinformatics, he has worked extensively on many topics around research ethics, community-driven science and wider open science topics. On the topic of research ethics, Bastian is particularly interested in the ethics of participant-led research, data sharing and bias in research data. Besides his current focus on understanding how peer-production can be utilized in community science, Bastian also works on understanding participant motivations and collaborative data analyses. In the larger open science area, Bastian is interested in the future of scholarly publishing, understanding the positive impact that platforms like Sci-Hub have around the globe, and in promoting open practices, e.g. through the Open Bioinformatics Foundation with the Bioinformatics Open Source Conference, and the OpenScienceMOOC.

Effects of E-learning on students’ stress and attention span during the COVID-19 pandemic
Analyze how e-learning in pandemic affects students’ stress and attention span.
Mobility analysis
Analysis of mobility data for social good. Analysis of individual trajectories and global open data of human travels.
Porting the iOS app Overland to Android
Overland is an iOS app that tracks the user's location and sends this data to a server. The goal of this project is to port it to Android.
Using peer production in citizen science
Investigating whether peer production ideals and mechanisms can be used to facilitate bottom-up community science projects
How does using our phones influence our mood?
A small self-tracking experiment to evaluate the impact our phone & social media use
Open Science AIRE Course
Learning by doing Open Science
Quantified Flu
Can our wearables warn us before we fall sick? And can they distinguish between different kinds of infections, e.g. COVID-19 vs Influenza?
COVID-19 Symptoms Twitter Analysis
Understanding how local tweets about symptoms correlate with case numbers
Improving trans-related health research
Recommender systems to enhance collective intelligence for patient-led research
We are investigating how to make it easier for patients to do research together on the questions that matter most to them
develop and build a cheap anti-"flying pests" LASER on the principle of Nathan Myhrvold's mosquito laser