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Lei XU

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Lei XU, Ph.D., Associate Professor.

Research diseases:My research focuses on One Health——working at the local, regional, national, and global levels, and with the goal of achieving optimal health outcomes and recognizing the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment. I am interested in using mathematical modelling to explore the relationship between environmental factors such as climate change and infectious diseases, the three main ones being COVID-19, plague (the third pandemics) and dengue (a new threat to human health which is more sensitive to climate change). In addition to that primary research, I am also interested in animal ecologies, history and culture.


2012/7 Graduate Summer Session (GSS) in Epidemiology, School of Public Health, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, U.S.

2008/8 –2009/8 Researcher, Project cooperation in Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), University of Oslo, Norway

2005/9 –2011/6 Ph.D., Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences Doctoral Dissertation: “Environmental factor affects spatial-temporal dynamics of Plague in China”

2001/9 –2005/6 B.S., School of life science, Henan Normal University, China


2020/12 to date Associate Professor, Vanke School of Public Health, Tsinghua University

2020/6 – 2020/12 Associate Professor, Department of Earth System Sciences, Tsinghua university

2016/12 – 2019/3 Vice Researcher, Director, Department of Vector borne infectious diseases, National institute for communicable disease control and prevention, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

2019/3 – 2020/6 Director, Department of epidemiology, National institute for communicable disease control and prevention, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

2015/3 – 2018/12 Researcher, Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), University of Oslo, Norway

2014/6 – 2016/12 Postdoc, National institute for communicable disease control and prevention, Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

2011/7 –2014/7 Assistant Professor, Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Science, Beijing, China


[1]Lei Xu, Leif Chr. Stige, Herwig Leirs, Simon Neerinckx, Kenneth L. Gage, Ruifu Yang, Qiyong Liu, Barbara Bramanti, Katharine R. Dean, Hui Tang, Zhe Sun, Nils Chr. Stenseth, Zhibin Zhang. Historical and genomic data reveal the influencing factors on global transmission velocity of plague during the Third Pandemic[J]. Proceedings of the National Academy of ences, 2019, 116(24):11833-11838. doi:10.1073/pnas.1901366116.

[2] Li ZC, Gurgel H, Dessay N, Hu LJ,Xu L, Gong P. Semi-Supervised Text Classification Framework: An Overview of Dengue Landscape Factors and Satellite Earth Observation. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2020, 17(12): 4509. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17124509.

[3] Marti R, Li ZC, Catry T, Roux E, Mangeas M, Handschumacher P, Gaudart J, Tran A, Demagistri L, Faure JF, Carvajal JJ, Drumond B,Xu L, Herbreteau V, Gurgel H, Dessay N, Gong P. A Mapping Review on Urban Landscape Factors of Dengue Retrieved from Earth Observation Data, GIS Techniques, and Survey Questionnaires. Remote Sensing, 2020, 12(6): 932. doi: 10.3390/rs12060932.

[4] Xu JC, Xu KQ, Li ZC, Meng FX, Tu TT,Xu L, Liu QY. Forecast of Dengue Cases in 20 Chinese Cities Based on the Deep Learning Method. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2020, 17(2): 453. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17020453.

[5] Li ZC, Feng YJ, Gurgel HL,Xu L, Dessay N, Gong P. Use of spatial autocorrelation and time series Landsat images for long-term monitoring of surface water shrinkage and expansion in Guanting Reservoir, China. Remote Sensing Letters, 2019, 10(12): 1192-1200. doi: 10.1080/2150704X.2019.1671634.

[6] Li, R.,Lei Xu (Equally contributed first author), Bjornstad, O.N., Liu, K., Song, T., Chen, A. et al. (2019). Climate-driven variation in mosquito density predicts the spatiotemporal dynamics of dengue. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 2019, 116(9):3624-3629. doi:10.1073/pnas.1806094116. 

[7]Xu L, Stige LC, Chan KS, Zhou J, Yang J, Sang SW, Wang M, Yang ZC, Yan ZQ, Jiang T, Lu L, Yue YJ, Liu XB, Lin HL, Xu JG, Liu QY, Stenseth NC: Climate variation drives dengue dynamics.PNAS2017, 114(1):113-118. 

[8] Tian HD, Yan C,Xu L, Buntgen U, Stenseth NC, Zhang ZB: Scale-dependent climatic drivers of human epidemics in ancient China.PNAS2017, 114(49):12970-12975. 

[9] Tian H, Yu P, Cazelles B,Xu L, Tan H, Yang J, Huang S, Xu B, Cai J, Ma C, Wei J, Li S, Qu J, Laine M, Wang J, Tong S, Stenseth NC, Xu B: Interannual cycles of Hantaan virus outbreaks at the human–animal interface in Central China are controlled by temperature and rainfall. PNAS 2017, 114(30):8041-8046. doi:10.1073/pnas.1701777114.

[10]Xu L, Schmid BV, Liu J, Si X, Stenseth NC, Zhang Z: The trophic responses of two different rodent-vector-plague systems to climate change.Proc Biol Sci2015, 282(1800):20141846. doi:10.1098/rspb.2014.1846. 

[11]Xu L, Stige LC, Kausrud KL, Ben Ari T, Wang S, Fang X, Schmid BV, Liu Q, Stenseth NC, Zhang Z: Wet climate and transportation routes accelerate spread of human plague.P R Soc B2014, 281(1780):20133159. 

[12] Ben-Ari T, Neerinckx S, Agier L, Cazelles B,Xu L, Zhang Z, Fang X, Wang S, Liu Q, Stenseth NC: Identification of Chinese plague foci from long-term epidemiological data.PNAS.2012, 109(21):8196-8201.(1800).

[13] Yan C,Xu L, Xu TQ, Cao XP, Wang FS, Wang SQ, Hao SS, Yang HF, Zhang ZB: Agricultural irrigation mediates climatic effects and density dependence in population dynamics of Chinese striped hamster in North China Plain.J Anim Ecol2013, 82(2):334-344.

[14]Xu L, Liu Q, Stige LC, Ben Ari T, Fang X, Chan KS, Wang S, Stenseth NC, Zhang Z: Nonlinear effect of climate on plague during the third pandemic in China.PNAS.2011, 108(25):10214-10219. 

[15] Jiang G., Zhao T., Liu J.,Xu L., Yu G., He H., Krebs C.J. & Zhang Z*. Effects of ENSO-linked clilmate and vegetation on population dynamics of sympatric rodent species in semiarid grasslands of Inner Mongolia, China.Can J Zool, 89, 678-691, 2011. 

[16] Zhibin Zhang, Zhenqing Li, Yi Tao, Min Chen, Xinyu Wen,Lei Xu, Huidong Tian and Nils Chr. Stenseth. Relationship between increase rate of human plague in China and global climate index as revealed by cross-spectral and cross-wavelet analyses.Integrative Zoology,2, 144-153. 2007. 

[17] Gao JH, Hou HL, Zhai YK, Woodward A, Vardoulakis S, Kovats S, Wilkinson P, Li LP, Song XQ,Xu L,Meng BH, Liu XB, Wang J, Zhao J, Liu QY. Greenhouse gas emissions reduction in different economic sectors: Mitigation measures, health co-benefits, knowledge gaps, and policy implications. Environ Pollut. 2018,240:683-698. doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2018.05.011.

[18] Gao JH, Woodward A, Vardoulakis S, Kovats S, Wilkinson P, Li LP, Song XQ,Xu L,Li J, Yang J, Li J, Cao Li, Liu XB, Wu HX, Liu QY. Haze, public health and mitigation measures in China: A review of the current evidence for further policy response[J]. Science of The Total Environment, 2017,578:148-157.

[19] Li J , Woodward A , Hou X Y , Zhu T, Zhang JL, Brown H, Yang J, Qin RN, Gao JH, Gu SH, Li J,Xu L,Liu XB, Liu QY. Modification of the effects of air pollutants on mortality by temperature: A systematic review and meta-analysis[J]. Science of the Total Environment, 2017,575:1556-1570.

[20] Eads D A , Biggins D E ,Xu L ,Liu QY. Plague cycles in two rodent species from China: Dry years might provide context for epizootics in wet years[J]. Ecosphere,2016, 7(10):e01495.

[21] Sang SW, Gu SH , Bi P , Yang WZ, Yang ZC,Xu L,Yang J, Liu XB, Jiang T, Wu HX, Chu CD, Liu QY. Predicting Unprecedented Dengue Outbreak Using Imported Cases and Climatic Factors in Guangzhou, 2014[J]. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2015, 9(5).

[22] Kausrud KL, Begon M, Ben Ari T,Viljugrein H, Esper J, Buntgen U, LeirsH, Junge C, Yang B, Yang MX,Xu L,Stenseth NC. Modeling the epidemiological history of plague in Central Asia: palaeoclimatic forcing on a disease system over the past millennium. BMC Biol. 2010,8:112. Published 2010 Aug 27. doi:10.1186/1741-7007-8-112.

[23] Sun Z,Xu L,Schmid BV, Schmid BV, Dean KR, Zhang ZB, Xie Y, Fang XY,

Wang SC, Liu QY, Lyu BL, Wan XR, Xu JG, Stenseth NC, Xu B. Human plague system associated with rodent diversity and other environmental factors. R Soc Open Sci. 2019,6(6):190216. Published 2019 Jun 19. doi:10.1098/rsos.190216.

[24] Liu K, Hou X, Ren Z, Liu X, Sun J, Wang Y, Song X, Wu X, Lu L, Yao W, Gao Y, Li J,Xu L,Liu Q. Climate factors and the East Asian summer monsoon may drive large outbreaks of dengue in China. Environ Res. 2020,183:109190. doi:10.1016/j.envres.2020.109190.

Book Chapter:

Bramanti B., Stenseth N.C., Walløe L.,Lei X. (2016) Plague: A Disease Which Changed the Path of Human Civilization. In: Yang R., Anisimov A. (eds)Yersinia pestis: Retrospective and Perspective. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, vol 918.Springer, Dordrecht. 

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