26/05/2022 - 12:04

WA scientist inducted into academy

26/05/2022 - 12:04

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Jonathan Carapetis has been recognised for his infectious disease discoveries and elected to be one of 22 fellows inducted into the Australian Academy of Sciences this year.

WA scientist inducted into academy
Professor Carapetis is the executive director of Telethon Kids Institute.

Jonathan Carapetis has been recognised for his infectious disease discoveries and elected to be one of 22 fellows inducted into the Australian Academy of Sciences this year.

Professor Carapetis is the executive director of Telethon Kids Institute and a world-leading researcher in acute rheumatic fever, rheumatic heart disease and Group A Streptococcal disease.

His work includes research proving the link between Strep A skin infections and acute rheumatic fever disease and has changed the control of rheumatic heart disease globally.

The academy said Professor Carapetis had constantly challenged existing scientific knowledge and made discoveries around the three diseases which affect more than 40 million and kill more than 5000,000 people every year.

“[Professor Carapetis] has drawn on the entire breadth of research disciplines – discovery, clinical, population health, qualitative, policy and health services – to systematically address the most significant unanswered questions,” the academy’s extended citation noted.

“He has challenged existing paradigms, unearthed new approaches to working with disadvantaged populations, and influenced global policy, culminating in the 2018 World Health Organization Global Resolution on ARF and RHD.”

It said his work had transformed clinical practice and policy nationally and internationally, including through his leadership of the END RHD Centre of Research Excellence which produced a strategy to eliminate the disease in Australia for good by 2030.

He was also recognised for his presiding over two medical research institutes: Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin and Telethon Kids Institute.

Professor Carapetis said he was very grateful for the honour, which was one of the highest recognitions of scientific achievement.

“But science is never done by one person alone – there are many colleagues and collaborators who have equally contributed to my career’s work and should share in this acknowledgement,” Professor Carapetis said.

“I hope this recognition will help to shine a light on the problem of RHD in our First Nations people and in many countries around the world, as well as to the solutions – clearly outlined in the Endgame Strategy – that now need to be implemented.

“I look forward to contributing to the great work of the Academy of Science in years to come, as it ensures that Australia’s future is one that embraces as well as learns from science.”

He was the only Western Australia inducted to the group this year, joining 894 others who have been elected since 1954.

The fellows will president their work and achievements at the Science at the Shine Dome on November 23.

Professor Carapetis’ work has attracted other accolades including as the recipient of the Professions Award at the 2021 Western Australian of the Year Awards and being made a Member of the Order of Australia for his contribution to medical research.

He was inducted as a fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences in 2014. 

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