Matt Townsend grew up in New York State before attending Yale University, where he graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology. On a Rhodes Scholarship, Townsend pursued M.Sc. in Medical Anthropology and Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.) degrees at the University of Oxford. He graduated from Harvard Medical School with his M.D. in 2021. Townsend is an internal medicine resident physician at Duke committed to a research career in academic gastroenterology.