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Robert S. McCann, PhD

Academic Title:

Assistant Professor

Primary Appointment:


Secondary Appointment(s):

Microbiology and Immunology

Education and Training

2002-2006: B.S., Biology, University of North Dakota

2009-2013: Ph.D., Entomology and EEBB (Ecology, Evolutionary Biology & Behavior), Michigan State University (Advisor: Edward D. Walker)

2014-2019: Postdoctoral Researcher, Laboratory of Entomology, Wageningen University and Research (Mentor: Willem Takken)

2019-2020: Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Infectious Disease and Tropical Pediatrics, Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine (Mentor: Miriam K. Laufer)


Dr. McCann is a medical entomologist with extensive experience conducting research on malaria vectors and parasite transmission using a combination of field, laboratory, and computational approaches. His research focuses on the processes that drive spatial and temporal patterns of malaria with the goal of improving intervention effectiveness.

His PhD research examined the determinants of malaria vector habitat use, spatial distribution, and community composition, with a focus on environmental factors and insecticide-treated bed nets. During his postdoctoral training, he worked on several studies with interdisciplinary teams, including: evaluation of community engagement, larval source management, and structural house improvement as additional components of an integrated malaria control program; development of new approaches using geostatistical sampling methods to monitor variation in key malaria indicators across time and space at high resolution; and characterization of malaria vector behavioral responses to house improvement for malaria control. He also contributed to studies identifying the host and parasite factors that determine human-to-mosquito transmission of malaria parasites.

Since becoming a faculty member in the Malaria Research Program in the Center for Vaccine Development and Global Health at UMSOM, Dr. McCann has been supported by an IRSDA/K01 career development award from the Fogarty International Center to assess the impact of malaria vector diversity on intervention strategies.

Areas of interest include projects that:

  • focus on Anopheles mosquitoes and factors that determine their spatio-temporal distributions (e.g. weather/climate, land cover, house design, interventions, etc.) at a range of spatial scales (from a single household to a continent) and temporal scales (from hourly to multiple decades);
  • use genomic data to identify population structure and connectivity (via migration/dispersal) in Anopheles populations;
  • focus on malaria parasite transmission (including human-to-mosquito and mosquito-to-human) and factors that modulate transmission;
  • evaluate the effectiveness of existing and novel vector control and transmission-blocking interventions.

Research/Clinical Keywords

Malaria, Anopheles, mosquito, vector control, vector ecology and behavior, parasite transmission, landscape ecology, GIS, landscape genetics, weather, climate.

Highlighted Publications

Amoah B*, McCann RS*, Kabaghe AN, Mburu M, Chipeta MG, Moraga P, Gowelo S, Tizifa T, van den Berg H, Mzilahowa T, Takken W, van Vugt M, Phiri KS, Diggle PJ, Terlouw DJ, Giorgi E. Identifying Plasmodium falciparum transmission patterns through parasite prevalence and entomological inoculation rate. Elife. 2021 Oct 21;10. doi: 10.7554/eLife.65682. PubMed PMID: 34672946; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8530514.

McCann RS, Kabaghe AN, Moraga P, Gowelo S, Mburu MM, Tizifa T, Chipeta MG, Nkhono W, Di Pasquale A, Maire N, Manda-Taylor L, Mzilahowa T, van den Berg H, Diggle PJ, Terlouw DJ, Takken W, van Vugt M, Phiri KS. The effect of community-driven larval source management and house improvement on malaria transmission when added to the standard malaria control strategies in Malawi: a cluster-randomized controlled trial. Malar J. 2021 May 22;20(1):232. doi: 10.1186/s12936-021-03769-0. PubMed PMID: 34022912; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC8140568.

McCann RS, Cohee LM, Goupeyou-Youmsi J, Laufer MK. Maximizing Impact: Can Interventions to Prevent Clinical Malaria Reduce Parasite Transmission?. Trends Parasitol. 2020 Nov;36(11):906-913. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2020 Sep 9. Review. PubMed PMID: 32917511; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC7581555.

McCann RS, van den Berg H, Takken W, Chetwynd AG, Giorgi E, Terlouw DJ, Diggle PJ. Reducing contamination risk in cluster-randomized infectious disease-intervention trials. Int J Epidemiol. 2018 Dec 1;47(6):2015-2024. doi: 10.1093/ije/dyy213. PubMed PMID: 30376050.

McCann RS, Ochomo E, Bayoh MN, Vulule JM, Hamel MJ, Gimnig JE, Hawley WA, Walker ED. Reemergence of Anopheles funestus as a vector of Plasmodium falciparum in western Kenya after long-term implementation of insecticide-treated bed nets. Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2014 Apr;90(4):597-604. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.13-0614. Epub 2014 Jan 27. PubMed PMID: 24470562; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3973499.

Additional Publication Citations