July 27, 2022
Matthew Vogt, MD, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Diseases, and Microbiology & Immunology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine. Dr. Vogt obtained his degrees at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine. He completed a residency in Pediatrics at the Boston Combined Residency Program of Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston Medical Center prior to moving on to Vanderbilt University Medical Center for his fellowship in Pediatric Infectious Diseases.
During residency, Dr. Vogt was encouraged by mentors to pursue a St. Jude-PIDS Fellowship Award in Basic and Translational Science. His research first focused on rhinovirus before enterovirus D68 took over, and he began to study how it causes acute flaccid myelitis and the role human antibodies may play in prevention or treatment of disease. Dr. Vogt’s early work in enterovirus D68 was also fueled by the Pichichero Family Foundation Vaccines for Children Initiative Research Award in Pediatric Infectious Diseases award, which funded a portion of his work prior to receiving further funding through an NIH K08 Award.
That funding, according to Dr. Vogt, allowed him “to focus even more fully on research, and helped grease the skids for a few of my early career transition points. Antibodies that we isolated during St. Jude-PIDS funding are being developed for use in humans, and foundational discoveries we made have closed vexing knowledge gaps in understanding childhood disease.”
While he used an outside lab for his St. Jude-PIDS Award mouse work, the funding from the Pichichero Award helped lead to his ability to conduct in depth in vivo testing on-site. Vogt’s work helped establish that enterovirus D68 causes, and is not merely associated with, AFM in children, as evidenced by demonstration of virus in the anterior horn cells of a child with AFM (“Enterovirus D68 in the Anterior Horn Cells of a Child with Acute Flaccid Myelitis” published in a May issue of The New England Journal of Medicine).
Vogt credits the St. Jude-PIDS Award and the Pichichero Award as providing the funding necessary to launch a successful junior faculty career and providing a type of ‘risk mitigation’ for future funders. Having an established track record of funding proved important as he applied for faculty positions.
The process for applying to each award was simple, and much of the material submitted for the Pichichero Award was repurposed from an NIH K08 award application. Dr. Vogt emphasized the importance, especially for residents, fellows, and early career faculty, to realize applying for these awards is worth the time. He added, “Few awards of this magnitude are available for this relatively straightforward amount of effort. The juice could not be more worth the squeeze.”