Tovi Lehmann, Ph.D.

Ecology of Disease Vectors Program

Rockville, MD

Tovi Lehmann, Ph.D.

Facility Head, LMVR

Ecology of Disease Vectors Program

Contact: For contact information, search the NIH Enterprise Directory.

Tovi Lehmann

Major Areas of Research

  • Vector biology
  • Malaria
  • Ecology and evolution of host-parasite systems

Program Description

As part of the Mosquito Ecology research program, we explore broad population biology questions relevant to patterns of disease transmission and vector control.. Together with colleagues in Mali and elsewhere, we investigate the role of dormancy and long-range windborne migration in the persistence of mosquitoes and malaria in seasonally arid areas, the processes affecting spread of genes within and between populations, and vector-parasite interactions at the population level. The nature of these topics within the One Health paradigm demands novel and creative approaches to answer stubborn old questions and identify new ones. We combine ecological, behavioral, physiological, genetic, and molecular analyses grounded in field studies to improve understanding of phenotypic diversity in vectors and its epidemiological consequences. The research group is nested in the Office of the Chief, LMVR, under Dr. Barillas-Mury.


Over twenty years, Dr. Lehmann has studied the population genetics, ecology, and behavior of the African malaria mosquito, Anopheles gambiae, and its relationship to disease transmission and control. As a postdoc, under Frank Collins at CDC, he studied patterns of gene flow among populations of this species and the degree of isolation between sibling species on the genetic level. This led to studies on the behavioral and ecological mechanisms that promote reproductive isolation (speciation) between diverging populations. In addition, he was tempted again and again to study the factors and processes that determine susceptibility of mosquitoes to pathogen. Over the past ten years, his obsession has been to resolve the “dry season malaria paradox” and uncover how mosquitoes persist through the long dry season without available surface water as larval sites. Studies he has led have produced compelling evidence for aestivation (summer dormancy) and long-distance migration in the persistence of vectors and malaria in dry areas. Before joining NIH, Dr. Lehmann studied the molecular epidemiology of toxoplasmosis, the behavior of the parasitic nematodes in the body of their blackfly host, and the population biology of ectoparasites on rodent hosts.

Selected Publications

Faiman F, Yaro AS,Dao A, Sanogo ZL, Diallo M, Samake D, Yossi O, Veru LR, Graber LC, Conte AR, Kouam C, Krajacich BJ, Lehmann T. Isotopic evidence that aestivation allows malaria mosquitoes to persist through the dry season in the Sahel. Nature Ecology & Evolution 2022: In Press. 

Dharmarajan G, Walker KD, Lehmann T. Variation in Tolerance to Parasites Affects Vectorial Capacity of Natural Asian Tiger Mosquito Populations v. Curr Biol. 2019 Nov 18;29(22):3946-3952.e5. 

Huestis DL, Dao A, Diallo M, Sanogo ZL, Samake D, Yaro AS, Ousman Y, Linton YM, Krishna A, Veru L, Krajacich BJ, Faiman R, Florio J, Chapman JW, Reynolds DR, Weetman D, Mitchell R, Donnelly MJ, Talamas E, Chamorro L, Strobach E, Lehmann T. Windborne long-distance migration of malaria mosquitoes in the Sahel v. Nature. 2019 Oct;574(7778):404-408. 

Dao A, Yaro AS, Diallo M, Timbiné S, Huestis DL, Kassogué Y, Traoré AI, Sanogo ZL, Samake D, Lehmann T. Signatures of aestivation and migration in Sahelian malaria mosquito populations. Nature. 2014 Dec 18;516(7531):387-90. *

Diabate Abdoulaye, Dabire K Roch, Heidenberger Kyle, Crawford Jacob, William Lamp, Culler Lauren, Lehmann Tovi. Evidence for divergent selection between the molecular forms of Anopheles gambiae: role of predation. BMC Evol Biol. 2008 Jan 11;8:5. 

Lehmann T, Licht M, Elissa E, Maega BTA, Chimumbwa JM Watsenga FT, Wondji CS, Simard F, Hawley WA. Population Structure of Anopheles gambiae in Africa. J Hered. 2003 Mar-Apr;94(2):133-47.

Visit PubMed for a complete publication listing.

Research Group

Dr. Adama Dao (MRTC, Mali), Dr. Alpha S. Yaro (MRTC, Mali), Dr. Roy Faiman (LMVR), Dr. Ben Krajacich (LMVR), Mr. Moussa Diallo (MRTC, Mali), Mrs. Margie Sullivan, Mr. Zana L. Sanogo (MRTC, Mali), Dr. Djibril Samake (MRTC, Mali)

Tools and Equipment

LMVR Insectaries (including secured area)


Malaria control: The great mosquito hunt

Mosquitoes may surf winds above Africa more than we realized

Life-Long Mosquito Marking: Are Stable Isotopes the Key?


The Anopheles gambiae 1000 Genomes Consortium

Monitoring Windborne Migration of Disease Vectors, Pathogens, and Pests in Africa to Improve Public Health and Food Security (MWMDVPPiA)

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