Sally Lahm, PhD

Titles and Organizations

Research Associate Professor, Public Health

Contact Information

Phone: 703-993-3578
Building: Peterson Hall
Room 5610

Personal Websites


Dr. Sally A. Lahm is a Research Associate Professor in the Department of Global and Community Health at George Mason University's College of Public Health. She is a multi-disciplinary scientist with expertise in biological anthropology, zoonotic diseases, and wildlife behavioral ecology applied to diverse field research projects and consultancies in African countries since 1982. She conducted her master’s and doctoral degree field research in Gabon, Central Africa where she lived and worked until 2005. Her work for more than three decades in sub-Saharan African countries and Madagascar focuses on integrative One Health-oriented research, understanding human-wildlife-habitat relationships and dynamics, conservation of biodiversity, transdisciplinary collaboration, and professional leadership training, education, and capacity building. 

Dr. Lahm has a specialized perspective on the epidemiology and ecology of Ebola Virus from her field research and response efforts during and between four Ebola Virus epidemics in Gabon from 1994-2003. She is currently co-Principal Investigator in a National Science Foundation-funded study addressing the ecology of MERS Coronavirus in dromedary camels, humans and wildlife in Ethiopia in collaboration with scientists at two Ethiopian universities.

Before coming to George Mason University, she was Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Global Health at George Washington University (GWU).  While at GWU, she led field research with local experts in 2015 on the cultural dimensions of Ebola Virus transmission in Guineé during the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Prior to GWU, she was Senior Africa and Madagascar Conservation Officer at Rainforest Trust, a non-profit organization focused on wildlife and ecosystem conservation. She has completed diverse consultancies for international agencies, non-governmental organizations, and industry including the International Finance Corporation, the European Commission, USAID, the British Broadcasting Corporation, the Smithsonian Institution, and several oil and mining companies. 

Community Service

  • Officer of Election, Fauquier County Electoral Board, Virginia, 2012-present
  • Volunteer, Allegro Community School for the Arts, 2012-present
  • Volunteer, Clifton Institute, non-profit center for conservation, education, and research, 2018-present
  • Member, Citizens for Fauquier County, non-profit organization for preservation of rural land, 2019-present
  • Member, Virginia Department of Health Medical Reserve Corps, May 2020-present


Selected Publications

Barnes, R.F.W., Lahm, S.A. (1997). An ecological perspective on human densities in the central African forests. Journal of Applied Ecology, 34.

Laurence, W.F., Croes, B.M., Tchignoumba, L., Lahm, S.A., Alonso, A., Lee, M., Campbell, P., and Ondzeano, C. (2006). Impacts of roads and hunting on Central African rainforest mammals. Conservation Biology, 19(1), 268-27510.1111/j.1523-1739.2006.00420.x

Anthony, N.A., Johnson-Bawe, M., Jeffery, K., Clifford, S.L., Abernethy, K.A., Tutin, C.E., Lahm, S.A., White, L., Utley, J.F., Wickings, E. and Bruford, M.W. (2007). The role of Pleistocene refugia and rivers in shaping gorilla genetic diversity in central Africa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 104(51), 20432-20436. 10.1073/pnas.0704816105

Lahm, S.A., (2007). Morbidity and mortality of wild animals in relation to outbreaks of Ebola haemorrhagic fever in Gabon, 1994-2003. Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 101(1), 64-7810.1016/j.trstmh.2006.07.002

Lahm, S.A., et al. (2015). Evolution and conservation of central African biodiversity: priorities for future research and education. Biotropica, 47(1), 6-1710.1111/btp.12188



Honors and Awards


  • Officer, National Order of Merit, Republic of Gabon, Central Africa, 1996 




  • Master of Arts, Biological Anthropology, San Diego State University
  • Doctor of Philosophy , Biological Anthropology, New York University