Director in one of the largest research institutes in Australia
Jonathan Carapetis is the Director of Telethon Kids Institute, one of the largest and most successful medical research institutes in Australia. He holds separate qualifications as a medical practitioner, a specialist paediatrician, a specialist infectious diseases physician and as a specialist public health physician.
He was born in Port Pirie, South Australia in 1961, to Greek parents. His father, who was an engineer, used to travel a lot to Tanzania and Uganda, where Karapetis came very early in contact with the tragic health conditions which deeply affected him.
He began his medical studies at the University of Melbourne where he received his BMedSc as well as his MBBS. His medical training was completed at the Royal Melbourne and Royal Children’s hospitals. Afterwards he completed his Ph.D. with the thesis: “Ending the heartache; the epidemiology and control of acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease in the Top End of the Northern Territory” at the University of Sydney.
He started working as the Chief Resident and Fellow in Infectious Diseases at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, as part of his specialization training in paediatrics.
J. Carapetis, in 1994, conducted doctoral studies into group A streptococcal diseases in the aboriginal population. His studies received major acknowledgment and Australia’s first rheumatic heart disease control program was established due to his efforts. During that time he also worked as a paediatrician at Royal Darwin Hospital.
He then worked as a Paediatric Infectious Diseases Fellow in Canada and a year later, in 1999, he played a vital role in setting up the Centre for International Child Health at the University of Melbourne. His research there was focused on child health and it led in the development of affordable and effective vaccines to help children in Fiji and Vietnam. At the same time, he was the Theme Director at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and Consultant in Paediatric Infectious Diseases at Royal Children’s Hospital.
In 2006, J. Carapetis got the position of Director of the Menzies School of Health Research and his work was focused in child health research with a particular focus on indigenous health. He held that position until June 2012.
One month later, he was appointed the Director of the Telethon Kids Institute, one of the largest and most successful medical research institutes in Australia.
Jonathan Carapetishas written numerous textbook chapters on rheumatic fever, he has been an invited speaker at more than 30 national and international conferences and has over 100 peer reviewed publications. He also has received many honors and awards for his tremendous work in child health. In 2006, he was selected as one of Australia’s Top Ten Scientific Minds aged under 45 years by Cosmos Magazine and in 2008 he was named the “Northern Territory Australian of the Year” and was selected as one of Australia’s 100 Smartest people (one of the Top Ten in Medicine and Health) in The Bulletin magazine “Smart 100” list. In 2013, he was awarded with the Honorary Doctor of Science from Charles Darwin University.