About Me

I am a research scientist at Web3 Foundation. Currently, one of our main projects is a blockchain project called Polkadot

At Web3 Foundation I work on a number of tasks as follows.

  • research challenges of Polkadot such as interoperability, networking, and auctions
  • research project aiming at designing a privacy-enhancing messaging service for decentralized applications
  • managing our academic collaborations 

Before joining W3F, I obtained my PhD in the Electronic Engineering from KU Leuven in the renowned Computer Security and Industrial Cryptography (COSIC) group, under the supervision of Prof. Claudia Diaz and co-supervision of Dr. Markulf Kohlweiss (University of Edinburgh). I was also affiliated to imec. My PhD thesis was titled "Investigating and Improving Anonymous Communication Systems."

Before going to KU Leuven, I was a research assistant and teaching assistant in the CDC group led by Prof. Johannes Buchmann at TU Darmstadt, where my research focus was on measuring the resilience of anonymous communication networks against denial-of-service attacks and investigating privacy in online social networks. At TU Darmstadt, I was also a teaching assistant for three lectures and five seminars and researcher in the acatech Internet Privacy project. 

I obtained my M.Sc. in Computer Science from Saarland University, where I worked for two years as a part-time student assistant at DFKI (German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence) in the Secure Systems group, led by Dr. Werner Stephan, helping with verifying secure partitioning for the PikeOS operating system.

Research Interests: 
Generally, I am interested in improving or designing decentralized systems such as blockchain systems, (anonymous) communication systems, and voting protocols that offer strong privacy/security guarantees. Furthermore, I am also interested in investigating/improving user awareness and usability of privacy/security technologies. 

Currently, my main research focus is designing a secure networking scheme for Polkadot and designing a Polkadot bridge protocol to Bitcoin and Ethereum. 

Awards and Media:
  • Our papers, "Collateral Damage by Facebook Applications: a Comprehensive Study" and "Collateral Damage of Facebook Apps: Friends, Providers, and Privacy Interdependence", were featured in an article of France24 (last modification: 21/03/2018).
  • Our paper, "Collateral Damage by Facebook Applications: a Comprehensive Study", was featured in an article in NBC News (published: 21/03/2018, title: "Researchers say it was easy to take people's data from Facebook", author: Brandy Zadrozny). AOL re-posted the article here
  • I was a Microsoft Research PhD scholarship holder from 05/2015 to 04/2018.
  • I received a travel grant to attend CrossFyre 2016 and a stipend for conference attendance from PETS 2016.
  • I received a Best Teaching Assistance award by the Computer Science department at TU Darmstadt, awarded for assisting the lecture "Introduction to Cryptography" WS 2012/2013 (awarded in 2015).

My Erdös number is 3. :-)