Ben Rush

Ben Rush headshot
I work to determine antibiotic resistance in bacteria by analyzing images and genomes using AI.


Ben is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio and now has lived in Madison for many years. He attended Indiana University-Bloomington for his undergraduate degrees in Biology and Neuroscience, and also for his Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology. While completing his Masters, he became extremely interested in applied statistics and statistical coding (a mix of SAS, SPSS, and a wee bit of HLM). He took a break from academia to serve a few years in AmeriCorps- a year working with kids in Little Rock, Arkansas, and another improving food systems and diet quality in Winnebago County, Wisconsin. On a whim, he applied to be a personal chef, and much to his surprise, became a personal chef for about a year before attending his PhD program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He received his PhD in Nutritional Sciences in May 2022 studying how bioimaging techniques (like ultrasound, MRI, CT, etc) can be used to assess muscle health clinically and how these techniques could be combined or corrected to improve muscle health assessment. He is now working with Claudia Solis-Lemus and John Garrett to use artificial intelligence in image analysis for both predicting bacterial resistance and to auto-analyze bioimaging scans. He enjoys traveling, trying new things, comedy, science communication (like making the Deeper Than Data podcast), natural history, and meeting new folks. He has strong opinions about chocolate, apples, and tacos.


  • PhD, Nutritional Sciences, University of Wisconsin- Madison
  • MPH, Epidemiology, Indiana University- Bloomington
  • BS, Biology, Indiana University- Bloomington
  • BS, Neuroscience, Indiana University- Bloomington

Research Description

Current work: I will work with Claudia Solís-Lemus to determine how neural networks, a type of artificial intelligence, can be used to predict bacterial antibiotic resistance by analyzing their genomes and the images of the bacteria. I'll also be working with John Garrett in the School of Medicine and Public Health to use artificial intelligence to automatically analyze CT images for liver, muscle, and other organ health.    

Past work (PhD work): I worked with the Kuchnia Lab in Nutritional Sciences at the University of Wisconsin- Madison to develop bioimaging (ultrasound, MRI, CT) technique-based biomarkers to assess muscle health. Each technique can used as a surrogate of muscle quality, which is important because higher muscle quality predicts higher quality of life and better clinical outcomes. We examined how these techniques by themselves or combined could predict muscle health and determine if differences between in age or disease can be detected by each technique. We also worked to improve the bioimaging techniques' associations with muscle strength by combining techniques or correcting for imaging artifacts, like dyes used to enhance image diagnosis.


University of Wisconsin–Madison School of Medicine and Public Health