Tovi Lehmann, Ph.D.

Tovi Lehmann, Ph.D.

Credit: NIAID
Facility Head, LMVR
Mosquito Ecology and Malaria Culture and Insectary Unit

Major Areas of Research

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


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.

Program Description

As part of the Mosquito Ecology  research program, we explore broad population biology questions relevant to patterns of malaria transmission and vector control. We are studying the ecology of mosquitoes, addressing questions relevant to patterns of malaria transmission and vector control. Together with colleagues in Mali and elsewhere, we investigate the role of dormancy and long-range 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. Thus, 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 Malaria Culture and Insectary Unit/Office of the Chief, LMVR, under Dr. Thomas Wellems.

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)


Huestis DL, Dao A, Diallo M, Sanogo ZL, Samake D, Yaro AS, Ousman Y, Linton Y-M, 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 and Lehmann T. Windborne long-distance migration of malaria mosquitoes in the Sahel. Nature: In Press.

Dharmarajan G, Walker KDLehmann T. Variation in tolerance to parasites affects vectorial capacity of natural Asian tiger mosquito populations. Current Biology: In Press.

Faiman R, Dao A, Yaro AS, Diallo M, Djibril S, Sanogo ZL, Ousmane Y, Sullivan M, Veru L, Krajacic BJ, Krishna A, Matthews J, France CAM, Hamer G, Hobson KA, Lehmann T. Marking mosquitoes in their natural larval sites using 2H‐enriched water: A promising approach for tracking over extended temporal and spatial scales. Methods Ecol Evol. 2019 May 17;10(8):1274-85.

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.

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Tools & Equipment

LMVR Insectaries (including secured area)

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