2019 Councilor Representing Students, Trainees, Residents or Post-Docs Candidate
M. Jeremiah Matson, MD-PhD (Candidate)
NIH/NIAID Rocky Mountain Laboratories and Marshall University, U.S.
ASTMH’s decision to begin electing Councilors who are students, trainees and residents or post-docs is very exciting, and I am thrilled and honored to be considered for one of the positions. This position will, above all else, be an unprecedented opportunity to learn from the other ASTMH leadership as well as from the greater membership. Enthusiastic learning engenders effective leading, and I believe that being placed in a Councilor position representing students, trainees, residents or post-docs would provide an ideal setting in which to very practically begin working out what this entails.
I firmly believe that tropical diseases should be of concern to all, regardless of geographic locale, both out of an ethical desire to see the suffering of others alleviated and for practical preparedness to address these diseases in the future of our ever-changing world. Communicating these convictions to those around us is of immense importance, and I am very excited by ASTMH’s advocacy efforts along these lines, particularly with the Councilors’ annual visits to Capitol Hill. While an inward focus on sharing, training, and collaboration are no doubt necessary and crucial for a scientific organization such as ASTMH, an outward focus on reaching out to our communities and policy makers is increasingly important, and I am especially interested in exploring ways to further develop this aspect of ASTMH.
As a Councilor representing students, trainees, residents or post-docs, I would also of course seek to function as a liaison between students/trainees and the ASTMH leadership. My current position as an MD-PhD candidate affords me a unique advantage in this, in that I believe I would be able to effectively relate both to those on a more research-oriented trajectory as well as those in clinical training, and to their unique respective concerns and interests. The experiences I have had thus far with ASTMH have certainly fostered my own development and growth, and I very much look forward to seeing these benefits continue to be extended to and expanded for others.
Summary of Volunteer/Member Roles in ASTMH
I have been a member of ASTMH since beginning my dissertation research in 2016, and subsequently became a member of the Clinical Group (ACCTMTH). In 2017, I was awarded the ASTMH Benjamin H. Kean Travel Fellowship in Tropical Medicine for a mosquito-borne arbovirus surveillance project to be undertaken alongside my dissertation mentor in the Republic of the Congo to complement our lab’s ongoing filovirus ecology fieldwork there.
Jeremiah is beginning his fifth year as an MD-PhD candidate at Marshall University in his home state of West Virginia. Since completing his first two years of medical school in 2016, he has been undertaking his dissertation research as an NIH Predoctoral Fellow with an Intramural Research Training Award through the NIH’s Graduate Partnership Program at the NIH/NIAID Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML). He is mentored by Dr. Vincent Munster, PhD in the Laboratory of Virology at RML, and by Dr. Daniel Chertow, MD, MPH in the Emerging Pathogens Section at the NIH Clinical Center. Jeremiah’s primary dissertation research project focuses on coinfections and viral kinetics in human Ebola virus disease and utilizes both human samples and in vivo modeling in a BSL-4 setting. Additionally, his project involves fieldwork in the Republic of the Congo, where Dr. Munster’s lab has an established site through the NIAID’s International Centers for Excellence in Research. Jeremiah also has a research interest in persistent Ebola virus infections, particularly in ocular tissues, and has initiated some small pilot projects to begin investigating these phenomena.
Aside from his current virology research, Jeremiah has a broad clinical interest in the full spectrum of infectious diseases, especially emerging and reemerging pathogens in tropical environments, and he plans to continue his training as a clinician-scientist in the field during residency and fellowship. He is keen to see medical care continue to improve in developing regions and has previously worked for and volunteered with several healthcare-focused NGOs in Africa and Southeast Asia on projects ranging from malaria and HIV diagnostics and prevention to improving access to neonatal vaccinations.
Prior to medical school, Jeremiah lived in Sydney, Australia for four years, where he completed a master’s degree and undertook research on mammalian lens development and pathogenesis at the University of Sydney. There he also met and married his wife, Sarah. They currently reside in Hamilton, Montana with their two-and-a-half-year-old daughter and eight-month-old son, where they enjoy spending as much time as possible together outdoors.