Matthew Kelly, MD, MPH, a skilled clinician and researcher, has been selected as a recipient of the 2022 Young Investigator Award from the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS). Presented to a physician who has completed pediatric infectious diseases fellowship training in the past seven years, the award recognizes outstanding contributions to the field. The honor was presented during IDWeek, the premier scientific meeting for infectious diseases professionals.
An associate professor of pediatrics and associate research professor of global health at Duke University, Kelly has launched a successful research career focusing on the impact of the human microbiome on the risk of pathogen colonization and infection.
“In a short time, Matt has established himself as a leader in pediatric infectious diseases. His work has impacted the lives of children across the globe,” said Michael Smith, MD, MSCE, professor of pediatrics and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases.
During a David N. Pincus global health fellowship at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, he noted that HIV-exposed, uninfected children in Botswana had greater pneumonia mortality as compared to children of HIV-negative mothers. This led to a series of funded studies that further elucidated factors associated with pneumonia morbidity and mortality, including viral infections, childhood immunizations, and the developing nasopharnygeal microbiome.
He then came to Duke for his pediatric infectious diseases fellowship and joined the faculty in 2016. His K23 project, which involves mother-infant pairs in Botswana, provides insight into the impact of the nasopharyngeal microbiome on the risk of childhood pneumonia. The main finding – that non-diphtheriae Corynebacterium colonization is negatively associated with pneumococcal colonization--was published last year and is being further explored through an ongoing R21. This finding has significant implications for the development of a potential probiotic therapy to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with pneumonia.
Kelly’s microbiome work has expanded into other vulnerable patient populations. His research group is currently working to determine the impact of the gut microbiome on the risk of bloodstream infection, acute graft-versus-host disease and C. difficile infection in pediatric stem cell transplant recipients. Again, the overarching goal is to identify commensals that could potentially serve as candidate probiotics in this patient population.
More recently, Kelly’s work has pivoted to COVID. Thie Biospecimens from RespirAtory Virus-Exposed (BRAVE) Kids study is a community-based study that has collected clinical data and biospecimens from hundreds of pediatric patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection. This project was recently funded by an R01 award to expand the cohort and to more completely characterize the immune responses of children and adolescents to SARS-CoV-2 infection or vaccination.
In addition to his own research successes, Kelly has mentored countless students, residents, fellows, junior faculty and postdocs both in the US and in Africa. He has also served as the pediatric Infectious Diseases fellowship program director at Duke for the past 5 years.
About the Pediatrics Infectious Diseases Society (PIDS)
PIDS membership encompasses leaders across the global scientific and public health spectrum, including clinical care, advocacy, academics, government, and the pharmaceutical industry. From fellowship training to continuing medical education, research, regulatory issues and guideline development, PIDS members are the core professionals advocating for the improved health of children with infectious diseases both nationally and around the world, participating in critical public health and medical professional advisory committees that determine the treatment and prevention of infectious diseases, immunization practices in children, and the education of pediatricians. For more information, visit http://www.pids.org.