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Fiona Stanley successor announced
Robert Duncan/The West Australian Professor Jonathan Carapetis.

A leading paediatrician and infectious disease specialist working in Darwin will take over the helm of Perth's Telethon Institute for Child Health Research next year.

Professor Jonathan Carapetis will become the second director of the 21-year-old institute, taking over from founding director Fiona Stanley who retires at the end of the month.

Like his predecessor, the 50-year-old father-of-two has a strong interest in Aboriginal health, having worked at the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin since 2006.

Institute board chairman John Langoulant said Professor Carapetis was a standout candidate in the international search, with a strong history as a researcher and clinician.

He was Northern Territory Australian of the Year for 2008 and has been named as one of Australia's top 100 brains in Cosmos magazine.

Professor Carapetis said he was honoured to be entrusted with the top position at the highly-renowned organisation.

"I'm very committed to ensuring the institute stays at the leading edge of child health research and sees the results of its work quickly translated into more effective treatments, preventative strategies and policies to improve the health and wellbeing of all children," he said.

Professor Stanley said he would bring extensive expertise to the institute, particularly in Aboriginal health research and infectious diseases which presented some of the greatest challenges for improving child health.

Professor Carapetis will take up the position in July and the institute's director of academic and research services Moira Clay will be acting director until then.