Norway Team Members
Carol Holm-Hansen is a senior research scientist at the Norwegian Institute of Public Heath in Oslo. She works with serological analysis, development of alternative diagnostic methods, genetic and phenotypic characterization, and molecular epidemiology of HIV and tuberculosis.
Carol was involved in a comprehensive, multidisciplinary bilateral HIV/AIDS intervention and control program in north eastern Tanzania, was coordinator of an international tuberculosis network, and PI for a multinational tuberculosis project addressing the development of a rapid serological diagnostic method funded by the Research Council of Norway and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
She has been actively involved in fieldwork in Africa for over 30 years, and is a consultant for WHO HIV/AIDS program and the Global Fund for AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. She is a member of the TuBerculosis Vaccine Initiative Advisory Committee and is an adjunct professor at the Institute for Health and Society, Section for Global Health, School of Medicine, University of Oslo, Norway.
Carol holds a BA from Swarthmore College, USA and a Dr philos (PhD) from the University of Bergen, Norway.
Tara Kelly Dolgner
Tara Kelly Dolgner is a senior advisor at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) in Oslo. She works as project coordinator developing and providing research administration services for the institute.
For over 17 years, Tara has supported public government initiatives in a variety of fields, including health services, small business loans, and emergency management. She has a background in project management/coordination, process efficiency, and budget and personnel management.
Since joining the NIPH, Tara has coordinated grants funded by the Research Council of Norway, the Norwegian Agency of Development Cooperation, the European Research Council and most recently with the European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership.
Tara holds a BA from Mount Saint Mary’s University, USA and her MA from American University, USA.
Ida Laake is a senior researcher at the Norwegian Institute of Public Health. She works primarily with vaccine epidemiology and is involved with the national surveillance of the human papillomavirus vaccination program.
Ida specializes in biostatistics, study design and planning, epidemiological methods, and registry-based epidemiology.
She holds a PhD from the University of Oslo, Norway.
South Africa Team Members
Grant Theron is a professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
His team, the Clinical Mycobacteriology and Epidemiology group (CLIME), is conducting TB research focused on diagnosis and drug resistance, understanding the role of the microbiome, and studying the infectiousness of patients and transmission.
He has approximately 90 publications in the fields of diagnosis, drug-resistance, and the microbiome, and his work has attracted international recognition and contributed to global health policy. Grant is funded by the EDCTP, NIH, and several national research organisations within South Africa.
He holds a BSc and a PhD from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Anna Okunola is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Clinical Mycobacteriology & Epidemiology (CLIME) group, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
Anna is part of the team engaged in TB diagnostics. She is involved with the planning, conducting, and monitoring of the SeroSelectTB clinical trials at the field sites in Cape Town.
In her previous work, Anna studied the bacterial microbiota and metabolome of human milk related to infant health, and infectious diseases with a focus on TB.
Anna received her MSc degree from the University of Antwerp, Belgium and a PhD from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Byron Reeve is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Clinical Mycobacteriology & Epidemiology (CLIME) group, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa where he is involved in the TB diagnostic portfolio.
He facilitates the day-to-day activities of three clinical trials that evaluate nascent TB diagnostic tests and improved implementation of existing commercial tests. Byron has four years of clinical research experience in TB with the aim of bringing rapid, user-friendly TB tests closer to the patient point-of-care and reducing patient loss-to-follow-up within the TB care cascade.
He holds a BSc and a PhD from University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Shima Abdulgader is a postdoctoral research fellow at the Clinical Mycobacteriology & Epidemiology (CLIME) group, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. She is part of the team engaged in TB diagnostics.
In her previous work, Shima studied the genomics and molecular epidemiology, virulence determinants, and the genetic background of Staphylococcus aureus. She is a member of the StaphNetAfrica network and of a consortium with the German Research Foundation (DFG) focusing on S. aureus research.
Shima holds a PhD from the University of Cape Town, South Africa.
Welile Dube is a doctoral student at the Clinical Mycobacteriology & Epidemiology (CLIME) group, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Stellenbosch University, South Africa. She is part of the team engaged in TB diagnostics.
In her previous work, Welile evaluated the Xpert® Breast Cancer STRAT4 assay on breast cancer biopsies in South African women. She worked as a medical scientist intern for the National Health Laboratory Service (NHLS).
Welile received her BSc and BSc (Hons) from the University of Pretoria and the Sefako Makgatho Health Sciences University, respectively, and her MSc degree from Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
Nick Borain is the managing/research director of Lateral Flow Laboratories in South Africa.
The company is ISO9001, ISO13485 and FDA GMP certified, and specialises in field ready, point-of-care tests ideally suited for countries where access to diagnostic technologies and services is a challenge.
Nick began his career in medical diagnostics with Abbott Laboratories before starting Vision Biotech (acquired by Alere) and later Lateral Flow Laboratories in 2013. Over the last 25 years, he has developed assays across multiple genres with a strong emphasis on infectious diseases. Nick has developed, co-developed, and optimised tests for multinational companies such as Abbott, Pfizer, Alere and British Biocell.
Nick received his B.Pharm Chem from the University of Port Elizabeth, South Africa and his MBA from Heriot-Watt University, UK.
Julianne du Plessis
Julianne du Plessis is an analytical chemist responsible for laboratory manufacturing operations at Lateral Flow Laboratories in South Africa. She has completed additional advanced post-graduate qualifications in operations management and quality assurance.
Julianne has 12 years of experience in the field of in vitro diagnostic medical device development and manufacturing, and has developed a significant number of new assays.
She has a BSc from Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa. Julianne has completed the Senior Executive Management Program at the University of Stellenbosch Business School, and auditor training courses including ISO/Quality Management Systems 9001, SABS, ISO13485, and GMP.
Quality Assurance Manager
Roslyn Fairbairn is the Quality Assurance Manager at Lateral Flow Laboratories in South Africa.
Her career started in the pharmaceutical environment involved in various roles within quality control and quality assurance (QA). After 15 years she moved on into the food sector and worked in primary packaging manufacturing.
Before joining Lateral Flow laboratories in 2019, Roslyn was responsible for QA at malt producing facilities in Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Cape Town and Gauteng. Her expertise includes the management of effective QA systems, Systems auditing (ISO), and World Class manufacturing and process optimisation.
Roslyn holds a national higher diploma in analytical chemistry and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Stellenbosch University.
Tanzania Team Members
Balthazar Melchior Nyombi
Senior Lecturer and Laboratory Research Scientist
Balthazar Melchior Nyombi is a senior lecturer and laboratory research scientist at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College, Tanzania. He specializes in clinical biochemistry and molecular diagnostics, antimicrobial resistance, and molecular characterization of HIV-1 and tuberculosis.
Nyombi was formally the director of the clinical laboratory at Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre and is currently a chairperson for the Health Laboratory Practitioners Council of Tanzania.
He received his MPhil and PhD from the University of Oslo, Norway.
Saumu Pazia Juma
Laboratory Research Scientist
Saumu Pazia Juma is a laboratory research scientist at Kilimanjaro Clinical Research Institute (KCRI) and a safety officer for the KCRI-BL. She has worked for more than 10 years on TB-related clinical trials and diagnostic studies.
Saumu was awarded a National Institute of Health (NIH)/Fogarty training grant and her Master’s thesis research was funded by the NIH TBR01 TB diagnostics grant.
She received her MSc from Kilimanjaro Christian Medical University College, Tumaini University, Moshi, Tanzania.
Ethiopia Team Members
Kidst Bobosha is a senior research scientist leading the Mycobacterial Diseases Research Department at Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI), Ethiopia. Kidist’s focus is on immunodiagnostics to profile and analyse host immunological responses against mycobacterial antigens, search for potential biomarkers, and develop field-friendly diagnostic tests.
Kidst has served on the Alert Internal Review Board and the National Ethics Review Board, and is a project manager and local coordinator for the NIH-funded Ethiopia-Emory TB Research Training Program.
She received her MSc from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia and a PhD from Leiden University, the Netherlands.
Tamirat Assefa Demissie is a researcher at the Mycobacterial Diseases Research Department, Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI) in Ethiopia where he is involved in research activities including proposal development and project implementation.
Tamirat has extensive experience in project coordination, data collection and management, and analysis and interpretation of research data. He has also served for more than 8 years at various levels of the health care system in Ethiopia supporting TB and HIV-related activities.
Tamirat received his BSc from Gondar College of Medicine and Health Sciences, and his MPH in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia.
Melese Yeshambaw is a researcher at the Mycobacterial Diseases Research Department, Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI), and is a project officer for SeroSelectTB in Ethiopia. He will coordinate project activities including planning, training of healthcare workers, field trial implementation and reporting.
Melese has comprehensive experience in epidemiological and clinical research activities, from designing and implementation to interpretation and reporting.
Melese received his BSc degree from Haromaya University and his MPH from Mekele University, Ethiopia.
Solomon Abebe Yimer
Solomon Abebe Yimer is a scientist at the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) in Oslo, Norway where he coordinates diagnostics for vaccine development against CEPI-target diseases.
At the University of Oslo, Solomon coordinated a multinational research project focusing on the molecular epidemiology of Mycobacterium tuberculosis in the Horn of Africa. He also conducted epidemiological investigations addressing TB in Ethiopia, documenting the role of diagnostic delay in the spread of the disease. Before coming to Norway in 2006, Solomon served in Ethiopia for over 10 years at various levels of the health care system as a public health expert.
He holds a BSc from Gondar College of Medical Science, Ethiopia, and his MPhil and PhD from the University of Oslo, Norway.
Germany Team Member
Head of Molecular Biology Department
Tim Welsink is the head of the Molecular Biology Department at InVivo BioTech Services GmbH in Germany. InVivo is an ISO9001 certified company with over fifteen years of experience in mammalian cell culture and protein production.
The Molecular Biology Department focuses on expression and purification of recombinant proteins including recombinant antibodies. Tim will lead the team at InVivo responsible for developing stable cell lines for Mycobacterium tuberculosis protein expression and providing antigens for the SeroSelectTB assay.
He holds a PhD from the Free University of Berlin, Germany.
Netherlands Team Member
Kristin Kremer is a laboratory scientist at the Centre for Infectious Disease Control, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), Netherlands. She coordinates the Bacteriological Serology Diagnostics Unit, which is an expert laboratory for the Dutch Foundation for Quality Assessment in Medical Laboratories.
Kristin has worked with TB at the National TB Reference Laboratory at RIVM and WHO. At RIVM, she was the principal investigator of an EU project studying the effect of genetic variation of M. tuberculosis on vaccine escape and drug resistance. At WHO, Kristin was responsible for the coordination of the TB laboratory network, the organization of drug resistance surveys, and the implementation of new diagnostics for TB in the WHO European Region.
She holds a BSc from the Institute for Life Sciences and Chemistry, Utrecht, Netherlands and a PhD from the University of Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Austria Team Member
Information Management Specialist
Aleksandar Josifoski is an internationally recognized expert with extensive experience in all tiers of digital transformation and digital systems development. He has been engaged as a team leader in numerous projects focusing on the development of digital policies, studies and countrywide digital information systems. He is also regularly contracted as an expert in monitoring and evaluation.
Aleksandar manages the complete delivery process of complex information systems with the development of e-services for citizens and governmental institutions. He has over 15 years of governmental experience in Europe, the Middle East and Africa working for donors such as EUROPAID, EBRD and the World Bank.
Aleksandar holds his BSc and MSc from Ss. Cyril and Methodius University, Macedonia.
Belgium Team Member
Director of Epidemiology
Miloje Savic is the Director of Epidemiology at GSK Biologicals, Wavre, Belgium. He works as an epidemiologist on real world evidence and development of vaccines against several major infectious diseases.
As a senior advisor at the National Institute of Public Health in Oslo, Norway, Miloje was involved in the development of economic incentives and policies for stimulation of antibiotic R&D. Miloje has extensive experience in fundamental and applied research across different areas acquired at various institutions in Europe and the USA. He is a member of Global Burden of Disease and Financing Global Health projects at Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), University of Washington, USA. Miloje is affiliated with E-MEDDIA as a senior consultant for the SeroSelectTB project.
Miloje received his BSc and MSc from the University of Belgrade in Serbia, his MHE from Pompeu Fabra University in Spain, and his PhD from the University of Manchester, UK.
France Team Member
Chief Executive Officer
Fatima Gruszka has 20 years of experience in the development of medical diagnostic tools, regulatory affairs and quality management. Her expertise is in the domain of medical devices, inspection and in vitro diagnosis for the French National Agency of Medicine and Health Products Safety (ANSM) and the WHO.
Fatima has extensive experience in production, research and development of in vitro diagnostic medical devices. She provides consultancy services in strategy, development, quality assurance and statutory affairs at E-MEDDIA in France, which she founded in 2014.
Fatima holds a PhD from Université de Bourgogne, France.