Ashutosh Kumar is a PhD candidate whose research combines microbiology, bioengineering, artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and materials science with the goal of understanding the relationship between bacteria and cancer. With the support of a MathWorks Fellowship, Ashutosh will pursue innovative research building on two recent findings in cancer research: that bacteria may play a role in chemotherapy resistance and modulating responses to immunotherapy, and that certain tumors are associated with specific microbiomes. His work focuses on ovarian cancer, a lethal cancer that often exhibits strong chemoresistance and has a specific bacterial profile. Using experimental techniques, microbiome sequencing, and AI, Ashutosh hopes to predict microbial- based biomarkers and cluster them based on cancer types to pinpoint microbiome changes that may be connected to poor patient outcomes. Next, he plans to engineer bacteriophage-based therapeutics to probe the bacteria present in tumors and reprogram them for cancer therapies. MATLAB’s Bioinformatics Toolbox and Statistics and Machine Leaning Toolbox are essential to this work. By elucidating the role of bacteria in cancer, Ashutosh’s research has the potential to make a major impact in cancer diagnostics and therapeutics.