Bright spark at Menzies 

Professor Jonathon Carapetis (photo by Peter Solness)

Leading Darwin based medical researcher and new Director at Menzies School of Health Research, Professor Jonathan Carapetis, has been named as one of Australia’s Top 10 Bright Sparks.

Chosen by the Editorial Advisory Board of popular science magazine Cosmos, the Bright Sparks are Australia’s top 10 scientific minds under 45 years of age.

The awards were announced yesterday and will be celebrated at an awards night in August in Sydney.

Professor Carapetis, a renowned epidemiologist, says the award was a wonderful surprise.

“It is important to realise that any researcher is only as good as the team they work with and I see this award as being as much about them as it is about me. It recognises all the great people we have at Menzies and CDU,” Professor Carapetis said.

CDU Vice-Chancellor Research, Professor Bob Wasson, says it is important that our best and brightest young researchers are recognised for their outstanding work that is helping to change lives around the world.

“We are delighted to have someone of Professor Carapetis standing as Director of Menzies, which is one of the research schools within CDU’s Institute of Advanced Studies.

“CDU is gaining a national and international reputation as an institution of excellence in specialist research areas such as infectious diseases, tropical and desert knowledge and Indigenous issues.

“The Territory offers many opportunities for cutting edge research and field work as it presents unique challenges for young researchers eager to tackle some of our most pressing global issues,” Professor Wasson said.

Earlier this year another young CDU researcher, Professor Barry Brook, gained national recognition when he was awarded the Australian Institute of Science, Fenner Medal as Outstanding Young Researcher of the Year in biology for a researcher under 40.

Brief Biog of Professor Jonathon Carapetis

Professor Carapetis was appointed to replace former Menzies School of Health Research (MSHR) director Professor Kerin O’Dea in October 2005 and took up the position in early June 2006. Between 1994 and 1998 Professor Carapetis, a specialist in pediatric infectious diseases conducted doctoral studies at MSHR into group A streptococcal diseases in the Aboriginal population.

This work translated into important public health interventions, including the establishment of Australia’s first rheumatic heart disease control program in NT.

Professor Carapetis holds qualifications as a medical practitioner, specialist pediatric physician, specialist infectious diseases physician, and specialist public health physician, as well as a PhD. He has consulted for the World Health Organisation and Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne.

Visit the Cosmos magazine website for further information about Professor Carapetis's appointment.