Small Animal Internal Medicine

Felix Lankester

Felix Lankester

Associate Professor & Director of Rabies Free Tanzania



Dr. Felix Lankester, a veterinarian with an ecology and environmental biology PhD, is a Clinical Associate Professor at the Washington State University.  Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health. Lankester is also the regional representative of Global Animal Health - Tanzania, an NGO carrying out research on infectious diseases that impact livelihoods in East Africa, and he is the Director of the Serengeti Health Initiative, an organization implementing animal disease control programs in and around the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania.  He is also a co-Director of the Pandrillus Foundation – an organization implementing primate conservation projects in Nigeria and Cameroon.  Broad areas of interest include global health / One Health, zoonotic diseases and wildlife conservation. Current research interests include investigating novel methods of rabies vaccine delivery (e.g. the use of thermotolerant vaccines, incentive payment schemes and integrated mass drug delivery strategies) that, it is hoped, will play a transformative role in efforts to eliminate human rabies globally by 2030. 

Personal Statement

I originally became a veterinarian because I wanted to work in wildlife conservation and indeed that is where my career took me.  I have had various spells working as a wildlife vet with great ape conservation in Borneo (with orangutans) and in Cameroon (with chimpanzees and gorillas).  However, when I first graduated as a vet I also had a yearning to work in a job that was more creative and so I spent a number of years working a parallel career in wildlife film production.  This was probably the easiest time of my life as I seemed to spend my days travelling around the world with a camera crew trying to capture wonderful wildlife behavior on film.  All good things must come to an end and I soon realized that if I was to make a difference I should return to my veterinary roots and get serious about science.  I studied for my Masters in Wild Animal Health and more latterly a PhD in infectious disease. I now find myself working on the interface between humans, livestock and wildlife investigating infectious diseases that transcend these sectors, impacting health, conservation and livelihoods.  My rather round about career, in which I focused on various different aspects of medicine and conservation, has now brought me to a place where all of these skills have value.  When not working, I enjoy sailing, surfing, playing poker and being beaten at football by my three young boys.

Education and Training

I trained to be a veterinarian at the University of Liverpool (UK), after which I studied for a Master of Science degree in Wild Animal 

List of Publications

Select Publications

  • Lankester FJ, Wouters PAWM, Czupryna A, Palmer GH, Mzimbiri I, Cleaveland S, Francis MJ, Sutton DJ, Sonnemans DGP. (2016) Thermotolerance of an inactivated rabies vaccine for dogs. Vaccine. 34(46):5504-5511. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2016.10.015. PMID: 27729174
  • Lankester F. and Davis A (2016) Pastoralism and wildlife: historical and current perspectives in the East African rangelands of Kenya and Tanzania. Revue Scientifique et Technique (International Office of Epizootics) 35(2):473-484. doi: 10.20506/rst.35.2.2536. PMID: 27917978
  • Lankester F, Russell GC, Lugelo A, Ndabigaye A, Mnyambwa N, Keyyu J, Kazwala R, Grant D, Percival A, Deane D, Haig DM, Cleaveland S. (2016) A field vaccine trial in Tanzania demonstrates partial protection against malignant catarrhal fever in cattle. Vaccine. 34(6):831-8. doi: 10.1016/j.vaccine.2015.12.009. PMID: 26706270 PMCID: PMC4742522
  • Lankester F, Lugelo A, Kazwala R, Keyyu J, Cleaveland S, Yoder J. (2015) The economic impact of malignant catarrhal fever on pastoralist livelihoods. PLoS One. 10(1):e0116059. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0116059. PMID: 25629896 PMCID: PMC4309580
  • Lankester F, Hampson K, Lembo T, Palmer G, Taylor L, Cleaveland S. (2014) Infectious Disease. Implementing Pasteur's vision for rabies elimination. Science. 345(6204):1562-4. doi: 10.1126/science.1256306. PMID: 25258065


Washington State University