Interview 4# Malin Lager

06 April 2021 - Published by Per-Erik Lindgren

Name: Malin Lager

Profession: Biomedical analyst

Workplace: Division of Clinical Microbiology, Laboratory Medicine, Jönköping County, Sweden

Academic title: Doctor of Medical Science

Firstly, can you tell a little bit about your current role in NorthTick?

My research focuses on issues regarding laboratory diagnostics of Borrelia infections i.e. how different parts of the molecular (detection of Borrelia-specific DNA) and serological (detection of Borrelia-specific antibodies as a response to the Borrelia infection) methods may be optimised and improved. Primarily I work with evaluation, survey, refinement, and implementation of methods regarding Borrelia, but my work also involves project around other, less common, tick-borne agents. One example is implementation of new molecular techniques at our laboratory for improved and deeper knowledge of the Borrelia species in correlation to clinical symptoms and self-described signs, which in the long-run may have significance for treatment recommendations.  

What is your experience of the NorthTick and how is it to collaborate across land borders?

Through the NorthTick project, important contact with other laboratories and researchers has been established, knowledge has been exchanged, and land border collaborations have been made. This is highly important and the NorthTick project has really facilitated this parts of the research process.

Why did you start to do research and do you find it interesting?

I have always been a curious person with an eagerness to learn more, which probably is the reason why research is so appealing to me. I feel that I learn new things every day and it´s really inspiring to collaborate with other researches within the same subject field. The research within NorthTick are conducted of multiple occupational categories e.g. physician, veterinaries, and biologists and the interplay between the environment, the hosts, and the pathogens are investigated within the different projects. I feel that the cooperation between different occupations categories gives a deeper knowledge to the field regarding ticks and tick-borne diseases and a bigger picture on how different biological parts affect each other.

Why are you interested in ticks and tick-borne diseases?

Ticks together with the pathogens that they transfer are really interesting subjects and the issue with patients suffering from difficult protracted symptoms due to tick-borne diseases is a problem in the modern society. As a biomedical analyst my heart beats heard for development and refining of methods, an important part in order to determine the right diagnosis. By the use of fast and reliable diagnostic tools, the patients can receive adequate treatment and reduced suffering, which is highly important.

How may your research be of use for the citizens?

Currently, the diagnosis of Lyme borreliosis is based on the patient´s medical history, symptoms, and self-described signs together with laboratory findings. Reliable laboratory method constitutes one of the three cornerstones to determine the right diagnose. Detection of Borrelia-specific DNA and/or Borrelia-specific antibodies, but also detection of other less common tick-transmitted agents, is essential in all stages of the infection. Diagnosis in the early stage of the infection is correlated to fast recovery, less suffer for the patients as well as an economic gain for the healthcare system.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

In my spare time, you will probably find me in the company of family or friends, in the running track or at the gym, but also in the kitchen with my hands in a dough, making some sort of cake or other sorts of pastries.