Dr. Biljana Kakaraskoska Boceska started in LAB-Net as deputy coordinator for North Macedonia back when the network was running under the COMBACTE project, Ecraid's predecessor. When the opportunity appeared, she joined the core LAB-Net team as medical microbiologist and researcher. Today, she is responsible for assessing local laboratories performance all over Europe, conducting tailored trainings when needed, and providing technical and operational support.
Biljana has 20 years of extensive expertise in the field of microbiology and public health, both as a doctor and researcher. She is passionate about this field, which she finds both fascinating and rewarding, for a number of reasons.
"Medical microbiology is often overlooked as a specialty among the medical doctors community. We increasingly lose patients to resistant bacterial strains and there is a significant misuse of antibiotics. The latest pandemic has shown that microbes have the power to disrupt our way of life, our freedom and cause a devastating economic impact. If we look further, there are studies showing how guts microflora can affect even mental health."
We increasingly lose patients to resistant bacterial strains and there is a significant misuse of antibiotics.
National Coordinator at CEASAR
Biljana got her MD degree at the St. Cyril and Methodius University in Skopje, North Macedonia.
“After my graduation, I started working at the Institute of Public Health of RNM, within the virology department. At the same time I started my specialisation in Microbiology as well as master studies in Public Health, all at the same university. After finishing my specialisation, I started at the Bacteriology and AMR department, spending years working with blood samples and respiratory tract infections in patients in the ICU”.
For the past 10 years, she has been a national coordinator and data manager of CAESAR* (Central Asian and European Surveillance of Antimicrobial Resistance) network, focusing on the antimicrobial resistance and diagnostic and antimicrobial stewardship. CAESAR is a joint initiative of the WHO Regional Office for Europe, the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (ESCMID) and the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM).
LAB-Net and ECRAID-Base
LAB-Net, which began as COMBACTE’s laboratory network, has been transitioning its activities to Ecraid where it is already serving the ECRAID-Base project's ongoing studies. The aim is that when the COMBACTE project comes to an end, LAB-Net will have established itself firmly in its new home.
Working in LAB-Net has broaden her horizons in the microbiology field. Mainly thanks to the opportunity to communicate extensively with different experts from all over the world. “Extending my knowledge and network in the field of AMR, including important insights inti whole genome sequencing, is also a part that I especially enjoy and was one of my top priorities when joining the LAB-Net team”.
When she is not working in the lab, Biljana seizes every opportunity to travel with her husband and her two teenage daughters. “Especially on road trips across Europe, exploring beautiful old cities like Prague, Budapest, Munich, or Zagreb”. She also has a passion for cooking and baking, “although sometimes it feels more of a need than a hobby”.