Luis Fernando Chaves, Assistant Professor

Department of Vector Ecology and the Environment

Institute of Tropical Medicine (NEKKEN)

Nagasaki University, Japan

Email: lchaves @



                                                        Panamá, 2013



I am broadly interested in the ecology of vector borne diseases. My research is focused on Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (in the Neotropics), Mosquito Ecology (USA, East Asia, Latin America & East Africa), Malaria (Latin America, East Africa and Vanuatu) and Chagas disease. I am mainly a modeler, but I also design/organize/implement field work.

Prior to coming to Nagasaki University I was a JSPS Postdoctoral Fellow at Hokkaido University (2010-2012) and at the Department of Environmental Studies in Emory University, Atlanta USA (2008-2010), and since 2010 I have been an associate member in the tropical disease research program (PIET) at Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica.

I did my Ph.D. in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor MI USA (2008), a M.Sc. in Ecology at Universidad Central de Venezuela (2003) and got a licentiate degree in Biology (minor in Parasitology and Medical Entomology) at Universidad de Los Andes, Venezuela (2001). 

Research Overview

Currently, I am affiliated with the “Leading” graduate program (and there are plenty of “Leaders” in that program ;) ) in Biomedical Sciences, and lecture, on occasion, Kissing Bug biology in the Master of Tropical Medicine, both at Nagasaki University. 

In Japan I am studying ecological patterns in mosquito diversity along environmental (urban and altitude) gradients in Nagasaki City.  This work is done with several Ph.D. students in the graduate school of Biomedical Sciences at Nagasaki University. This research is currently funded by Sumitomo Foundation.

Interesting mosquitoes living in Nagasaki are:


Larvae of Tripteroides bambusa

Pupa of Tripteroides bambusa

The bamboo mosquito (Tripteroides bambusa)

Aedes japonicus (bloodfeeding on me)

I am also involved in research looking at insecticide resistance patterns and the population dynamics of mosquitoes in Lake Victoria basin, Western Kenya, using data collected by Prof. Noboru Minakawa.

In Central America I am involved in several research projects:

-Spatio-temporal patterns of snakebites in Central America. This work is done in collaboration with Dr. Tingwu Chuang (Taipei Medical University) and Prof. José María Gutiérrez and Prof. Mahmood Sasa Marín at Universidad de Costa Rica.

-Land Use impacts on Chagas disease and Leishmaniasis infection in mammal hosts and vectors in Panamá.  This work is done in collaboration with Dr. Azael Saldaña at the Department of Parasitology at the Instituto Conmemorativo Gorgas de Estudios de la Salud (Panamá), Prof. Gregory Adler (Biology, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, USA) and Prof. Nicole Gottdenker (Veterinary Pathology, University of Georgia, Athens, USA).

 -Climate change impacts on cutaneous leishmaniasis transmission in Costa Rica and Panamá, in collaboration with Dr. Mario Baldi (PIET, UNA, Costa Rica), Dr. Tomas Revilla (Czech Academy of Sciences, Czech Republic), Dr. José Calzada (Parasitology, Instituto Conmemorativo Gorgas de Estudios de la Salud, Panamá) and the Ministries of Health of Panamá and Costa Rica.

-Phylogeography of Aedes albopictus in Costa Rica and Panamá, in collaboration with Dr. Rodrigo Marín (Ministerio de Salud Costa Rica), Dr. Mario Baldi (PIET, UNA, Costa Rica) and Dr. Anayansi Valderrama (Medical Entomology at Instituto Conmemorativo Gorgas de Estudios de la Salud, Panamá). We also looked at kdr mutations in Aedes albopictus and, plan to extend the work to Aedes aegypti in Costa Rica.

Here you can see some action in Panamá and Costa Rica.



Below you can find a full list of my publications (72 and counting) organized by topic and publication year (you can also see the citations here, here & here, and recent reprints can be downloaded from here, here & here):

Cutaneous Leishmaniasis

Chaves LF, Añez N. 2016. Nestedness patterns of Sand Fly (Diptera: Psychodidae) species in a neotropical semi-arid environment. Acta Tropica 153(1):7-13.

Calzada JE, Saldaña A, González K, Rigg C, Pineda V, Santamaria A, Rodríguez I, Gottdenker NL, Laurenti MD, Chaves LF. 2015. Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in dogs: is high seroprevalence indicative of a reservoir role?. Parasitology: 142(9): 1202-1214.

González K, Calzada JE, Saldaña A, Rigg C, Alvarado G, Rodríguez-Herrera B, Kitron UD, Adler GH, Gottdenker NL, Chaves LF, Baldi M. 2015. Survey of Wild Mammal hosts of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis Parasites in Panamá and Costa Rica. Tropical Medicine and Health 43(1): 75-78.

Chaves LF, Calzada JE, Valderrama A, Saldaña A. 2014. Cutaneous Leishmaniasis and Sand Fly fluctuations are associated with El Niño in Panamá. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 8(10): e3210.

Chaves LF, Calzada JE, Rigg C, Valderrama A, Gottdenker NL, Saldaña A. 2013. Leishmaniasis sand fly vector density reduction is less marked in destitute housing after insecticide thermal fogging. Parasites and Vectors 6: 164.

Saldaña A, Chaves LF, Rygg C, Wald C, Smucker J, Calzada JE. 2013. Clinical cutaneous leishmaniasis rates are associated with household Lutzomyia gomezi, Lu. panamensis and Lu. trapidoi abundance in Trinidad de Las Minas, Western Panama. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 88(3): 572-574.

Calzada JE, Saldaña A, Rigg C, Valderrama A, Romero L, Chaves LF. 2013. Changes in phlebotomine sand fly species composition following insecticide thermal fogging in a rural setting of western Panamá. PLoS One 8(1): e53289.

Chaves LF. 2011. Sand fly species co-occurrence at the local scale: differences between agricultural and forested areas. Boletin de Malariologia y Salud Ambiental 51(1): 35-39.

Chaves LF. 2009. Climate and recruitment limitation of hosts: the dynamics of American Cutaneous Leishmaniasis seen through semi-mechanistic seasonal models. Annals of Tropical Medicine and Parasitology 103(3): 221-234.

Chaves LF, Cohen JM, Pascual M & Wilson ML. 2008. Social exclusion modifies climate and deforestation impacts on a vector-borne disease. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 2(2): e176.

Chaves LF, Hernandez MJ & Ramos S. 2008. Simulación de Modelos Matemáticos como herramienta para el estudio de los reservorios de la Leishmaniasis Cutánea Americana. Divulgaciones Matemáticas 16(1):125-154

Chaves LF & Pascual M. 2007. Comparing early warning systems for neglected tropical diseases. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 1(1): e33.

Chaves LF, Hernandez MJ, Dobson AP & Pascual M. 2007. Sources and Sinks: revisiting the criteria for identifying reservoirs for American Cutaneous Leishmaniasis. Trends in Parasitology 23(7): 311-316.

Chaves LF & Pascual M. 2006. Climate cycles and forecasts of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis, a non-stationary vector borne disease. PLoS Medicine 3(8): e295. See correction: Chaves LF & Pascual M. 2007. Correction: Climate Cycles and Forecasts of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis, a non-stationary vector borne disease. PLoS Medicine 4: e123.

Chaves LF & Hernandez MJ. 2004. Mathematical Modelling of American Cutaneous Leishmaniasis: Incidental Hosts and threshold conditions for infection persistence. Acta Tropica 92(3): 245-252.

Chaves LF & Añez N. 2004. Species Co-Occurrence and feeding behavior in Sand Fly transmission of American Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in western Venezuela. Acta Tropica 92(3): 219-224.

Noguera P, Chaves LF & Nieves E. 2003. Effects of blood ingestion on patterns on the chorion of eggs of Lutzomyia ovallesi (Diptera: Psychodidae). Parasitologia Latinoamericana58 (1-2):49-53.

Mosquitoes (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)

Chaves LF, Imanishi N, Hoshi T. 2015. Population dynamics of Armigeres subalbatus (Diptera: Culicidae) across a temperate altitudinal gradient. Bulletin of Entomological Research 105(5): 589-597.

Chaves LF, Kawashima E, Futami K, Minakawa N, Marin Rodríguez R. 2015.  Lack of kdr mutations in Asian tiger mosquitoes from Costa Rica. Bulletin of Insectology 68(1): 61-63.

Tsunoda T, Chaves LF, Nguyen GT, Nguyen YT, Takagi M. 2015. Winter Activity and Diapause of Aedes albopictus (Diptera: Culicidae) in Hanoi, Northern Vietnam. Journal of Medical Entomology 52(6): 1203-1212

Futami K, Valderrama A, Baldi M, Minakawa N, Marin Rodríguez R & Chaves LF. 2015. New and common haplotypes shape genetic diversity in Asian tiger mosquito populations from Costa Rica and Panamá. Journal of Economic Entomology 108(2): 761-768.

Chaves LF, Scott TW, Morrison AC, Takada T. 2014. Hot temperatures can force delayed mosquito outbreaks via sequential changes in Aedes aegypti demographic parameters in autocorrelated environments. Acta Tropica 129(1):15-24.

Hoshi T, Imanishi N, Higa Y, Chaves LF. 2014. Mosquito (Diptera: Culicidae) Biodiversity Patterns around Urban Environments in South-Central Okinawa Island, Japan. Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association 30(4): 260-267.                                                                                                                             

Hoshi T, Higa Y, Chaves LF. 2014. Uranotaenia novobscura ryukyuana (Diptera: Culicidae) population dynamics are denso-dependent and autonomous from weather fluctuations. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 107(1):136-142.

Iwashita H, Dida GO, Sonye GO, Sunahara T, Futami K, Njenga SM, Chaves LF, Minakawa N. 2014. Push by a net, pull by a cow: can zooprophylaxis enhance the impact of insecticide treated bed nets on malaria control? Parasites and Vectors 7: 52.

Chaves LF, Higa Y, Lee SH, Jeong JY, Heo ST, Kim M, Minakawa N, Lee KH. 2013. Environmental forcing shapes regional house mosquito synchrony in a warming temperate island. Environmental Entomology 42(4): 605-613.

Chaves LF, Morrison AC, Kitron UD, Scott TW. 2012. Non-linear Impacts of Climatic Variability on the Density-Dependent Regulation of an Insect Vector of Disease. Global Change Biology 18(2): 457-468. (Reviewed in F1000)

Nguyen AT, Williams-Newkirk AJ, Kitron UD, Chaves LF. 2012. Seasonal weather, nutrient dynamics and conspecific presence impacts on the southern house mosquito oviposition dynamics in combined sewage overflows. Journal of Medical Entomology 49(6): 1328-1338.

Chaves LF, Hamer GL, Walker ED, Brown WM, Ruiz MO & Kitron UD. 2011. Climatic variability and landscape heterogeneity impact urban mosquito diversity and vector abundance and infection. Ecosphere 2(6): art70.

Hamer GL, Chaves LF, Anderson TK, Kitron UD, Brawn JD, Ruiz MO, Loss SR, Walker ED & Goldberg TL. 2011. Fine-scale variation in vector host use and force of infection drive localized patterns of West Nile virus transmission. PLoS One 6(8): e23767.

Chaves LF & Kitron UD. 2011. Weather variability impacts on oviposition dynamics of the southern house mosquito at intermediate time scales. Bulletin of Entomological Research 101(6): 633-641.

Chaves LF, Keogh CL, Nguyen AM, Decker GM, Vazquez-Prokopec GM & Kitron UD. 2011. Combined sewage overflow accelerates immature development and increases body size in the urban mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus Journal of Applied Entomology 135(8):  611-620.

Chaves LF, Harrington LC, Keogh CL, Nguyen AM & Kitron UD. 2010. Blood-feeding patterns of mosquitoes: random or structured? Frontiers in Zoology 7: 3.

Ruiz MO, Chaves LF, Hamer GL, Sun T, Brown WM, Walker ED, Haramis L, Goldberg TL & Kitron UD. 2010. Local impact of temperature and precipitation on West Nile virus in Culex species mosquitoes in northeast Illinois, U.S.A. Parasites and Vectors 3: 19.

Chaves LF, Keogh CL, Vazquez-Prokopec GM & Kitron UD. 2009. Combined sewage overflow enhances oviposition of Culex quinquefasciatus Say (Diptera: Culicidae) in urban areas. Journal of Medical Entomology 46(2): 220-226.

Pascual M, Ahumada JA, Chaves LF, Rodó X & Bouma M. 2006. Malaria resurgence in East African highlands: temperature trends revisited. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 103(15): 5829-5834.


Calzada JE, Marquez R, Rigg C, de La Cruz M, Chaves LF, Caceres L. 2015.  Characterization of a recent malatia outbreak in the autonomous indigenous region of Guna Yala, Panama. Malaria Journal 14: 459

Hurtado LA, Caceres L, Chaves LF, Calzada JE. 2014. When climate change couples social neglect: Malaria dynamics in Panamá. Emerging Microbes and Infections 3: e27.

Kaneko A, Chaves LF, Taleo G, Kalkoa M, Isozumi R, Wickremasinghe R, Perlmann H, Takeo S, Tsuboi T, Tachibana S-I, Kimura M, Björkman A, Troye-Blomberg M, Tanabe K & Drakeley C. 2014. Characteristic Age Distribution of Plasmodium vivax Infections after Malaria Elimination on Aneityum Island. Infection and Immunity 82(1): 242-253.

Honjo K, Chaves LF, Satake A, Kaneko A, Minakawa N. 2013. When they don’t bite, we smell money: understanding malaria bednet misuse. Parasitology 140(5): 580-586

Chaves LF, Satake A, Hashizume M, Minakawa N. 2012. Indian Ocean Dipole and Rainfall drive a Moran effect in East Africa Malaria Transmission. Journal of Infectious Diseases 205(12): 1885-1891.

Chaves LF, Hashizume M, Satake A, Minakawa N. 2012. Regime shifts and heterogeneous trends in malaria time series from Western Kenya Highlands. Parasitology 139(1): 14-25.

Hashizume M, Chaves LF, Minakawa N. 2012. Indian Ocean Dipole drives malaria resurgence in East African highlands. Scientific Reports 2: 269.

Chaves LF, Taleo G, Kalkoa M & Kaneko A. 2011.Spleen rates in children: an old and new surveillance tool for malaria elimination initiatives in islands. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 105(4): 226-231.

Chaves LF & Koenraadt CJM. 2010. Climate Change and Highland Malaria: fresh air for a hot debate. The Quarterly Review of Biology 85(1): 27-55.

Chaves LF, Kaneko A & Pascual M. 2009. Random, top-down or bottom-up co-existence of parasites: malaria population dynamics in multi-parasitic settings. Ecology 90(9): 2414-2425.

Chaves LF, Kaneko A, Taleo G, Pascual M & Wilson ML. 2008. Malaria transmission pattern resilience to climatic variability is mediated by insecticide treated nets. Malaria Journal 7: 100.

Pascual M, Cazelles B, Bouma M, Chaves LF, Koelle K. 2008. Shifting patterns: malaria dynamics and rainfall variability in an African highland. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 275(1):123-132.

Chaves LF. 2007. Casas Muertas and Oficina No. 1. Internal migrations and Malaria trends in Venezuela (1905-1945). Parasitology Research 101(1): 19-23.

Chagas disease

Saldaña A, Calzada JE, Pineda V, Perea M, Rigg C, González K, Santamaria A, Gottdenker N, Chaves LF. 2015. Risk Factors associated with Trypanosoma cruzi exposure in domestic dogs from a rural community in Panamá. Memorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz 110(7):936-944.

Fung HL, Calzada JE, Saldaña A, Santamaria A, Pineda V, González K, Chaves LF, Gardner B, Gottdenker N. 2014. Domestic dog health worsens with socio-economic deprivation of their home communities. Acta Tropica 135(1):67-74.

Gottdenker NL, Chaves LF, Calzada JE, Saldaña A, Carroll CR. 2012. Host life history strategy, species diversity, and habitat influence Trypanosoma cruzi vector infection in changing Landscapes. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 6(11): e1884.

Rabinovich JE, Kitron UD, Obed Y, Yoshioka M, Gottdenker N & Chaves LF. 2011. Ecological patterns of blood feeding by kissing-bugs (Hemiptera, Reduviidae, Triatominae) Memorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz106(4): 479-494.
Rabinovich JE, Nieves EL & Chaves LF. 2010. Age-specific mortality analysis of the Dry Forest kissing bug Rhodnius neglectus. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata135(2): 252-262.
Sulbaran JE & Chaves LF. 2006. Spatial complexity and the fitness of the kissing bug, Rhodnius prolixus Journal of Applied Entomology 130(1): 51-55.
Chaves LF, Hernandez MJ, Revilla TA, Rodriguez DJ & Rabinovich JE. 2004. Mortality profiles of Rhodnius prolixus (Heteroptera: Reduviidae), vector of Chagas disease. Acta Tropica 92(2): 119-125.
Chaves LF, Zamora E & Aldana E. 2004. Perfil de la mortalidad de hembras de Rhodnius robustus (Heteroptera: Reduviidae). Revista de Saude Publica de São Paulo 38(3): 466-468.
Chaves LF, Ramoni-Perazzi P, Lizano E & Añez N. 2003. Morphometrical Changes in Eggs of Rhodnius prolixus (Heteroptera: Reduviidae) during development. Entomotropica18(2): 83-88.
Chaves LF & Añez N. 2003. Geometría de las células del exocorión de huevos de Rhodnius prolixus Stål, 1859 (Heteroptera: Reduviidae). Entomotropica18(1): 1-5.
General Modelling
Smith DL, Perkins TA, Reiner RC, Barker CM, Niu T, Chaves LF, et al. 2014. Recasting the transmission dynamics of mosquito-borne pathogens. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 108(4): 185-197.
Chaves LF. 2013. The dynamics of Latifundia formation. PLoS One 8(12): e82863.
Reiner RC, Perkins TA, Barker CM, Niu T, Chaves LF, et al. 2013. A systematic review of mathematical models of mosquito-borne pathogen transmission: 1970-2010. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 10: 20120921
Chaves LF. 2010. An entomologist guide to demystify pseudoreplication: data analysis of field studies with design constraints. Journal of Medical Entomology 47(3): 291-298.
Vazquez-Prokopec GM, Chaves LF, Ritchie SA, Davis J, Kitron U. 2010. Unforeseen costs of cutting mosquito surveillance budgets. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 4(10): e858. 
Other Diseases (including Snakebites)
Chaves LF, Chuang T-W, Sasa M, Gutierrez JM. 2015. Snakebites are associated with Poverty, Weather fluctuations and El Niño. Science Advances 1(8): e1500249.
Onozuka D, Chaves LF. 2014. Climate Variability and Nonstationary Dynamics of Mycoplasma pneumoniae Pneumonia in Japan. PLoS One 9(4):e95447.
Hashizume M, Chaves LF, Faruque ASG, Yunus MD, Streatfield K, Moji K. 2013. A differential effect of Indian Ocean Dipole and El Niño on Cholera dynamics in Bangladesh. PLoS One 8(3): e60001.
Pascual M, Chaves LF, Cash B, Rodó X &YunusMd. 2008. Predicting endemic cholera: the role of climate variability and disease dynamics. Climate Research 36: 131-140 
Tropical Biology 
Ramoni-Perazzi P, Muñoz-Romo M, Chaves LF, Kunz TH. 2012. Range prediction for the giant fruit-eating bat, Artibeus amplus (Phyllostomidae: Stenodernatinae) in South America. Studies on Neotropical Fauna and Environment 47(2): 87-103.
Ruiz J, Boucher DH, Chaves LF, Ingram-Flores C, Guillen D, Torrez R, Martinez O. 2010. Ecological consequences of primary and secondary seed dispersal on seed and seedling fate of Dipterix oleifera (Fabaceae).Revista de Biologia Tropical 58(3): 991-1007.
Ruiz J, Ingram-Flores C, Boucher DH & Chaves LF. 2009. Beneficial effect of spider presence on seedling recruitment of the tropical rainforest tree Dipteryx oleifera (Fabaceae). Revista de Biologia Tropical 57(3): 837-846.
Chaves LF, Bianchi G & Skwierinski R. 2007.Morfotipos y germinación de semillas del Maitin, Ficus maitin (Moraceae). Biotropica 39(4): 546-548.
An Entomologist guide to Demystify Pseudoreplication
At some point I thought it was worth writing a “down to earth” tutorial and guide on how to deal with pseudoreplication in field studies. The article (and its corrigendum), as well as the data and code can be downloaded here.