Ilija obtained his double Master's degree in Molecular Biotechnology/Bioindustrial technology at the University of Zagreb and University of Orleans in 2010. Since the same year he has been employed at the Center for Proteomics. He spent 15 months at the partner institution Max von Pettenkofer-Institute in Munich, where he studied the role of murine cytomegalovirus protein MCK-2 in viral entry. In 2016 he defended his PhD thesis in the field of immunology at Faculty of Medicine, University of Rijeka. Focus of his research is pathogenesis of congenital CMV infection and viral tropism. He published 9 scientific papers in excellent journals and participates in several research projects.