Farah Ishtiaq

FI for website

Farah Ishtiaq
Principal Scientist


PhD, Aligarh Muslim University, 1999


  • Wellcome Trust – Department of Biotechnology India Alliance Intermediate Fellow, Centre for Ecological Sciences, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, 2013 – 2019
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Global Health Program Wildlife Conservation Society, USA, 2010 – 2011
  • Marie Curie International Incoming Research Fellow (Return Phase), Wildlife Institute of India, India, 2008 – 2010
  • Marie Curie International Incoming Research Fellow, Edward Grey Institute, University of Oxford, UK, 2006 – 2008
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Edward Grey Institute, University of Oxford, UK, 2005 – 2006
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Genetics Program, Smithsonian Institution, 2002 – 2005
  • National Coordinator, Important Bird Areas Programme and Indian Bird Conservation Network, Bombay Natural History Society, India, 1999 – 2002
  • Research Scientist, Bombay Natural History Society, India, 1998 – 1999


  • Disease Ecology
  • Evolution
  • Conservation Biology

Areas of interest

Disease Ecology, Environmental Surveillance, Genomics and One Health

Honors and Awards

  • Indian Council of Medical Research, Tracking SARS-CoV-2 with Wastewater: An environmental surveillance and epidemiological studies in Bangalore city, 2021
  • Wellcome Trust/DBT India Alliance, Intermediate Fellowship: Altitudinal gradient in vector-borne parasites in Himalayas, 2013 – 2019
  • Ramanujan Fellowship, Department of Science and Technology, India (Not taken up), 2012
  • International Incoming Marie Curie Fellowship (return phase), European Commission: Avian malaria in Himalayan foothills, 2008 – 2009
  • International Incoming Marie Curie Fellowship, European Commission: Avian malaria in South Pacific Islands, 2006 – 2008


  • Farah Ishtiaq, Wastewater-based surveillance of vector-borne pathogens: a cautionary note, Trends in Parasitology, (2023), DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pt.2023.12.005
  • D Deepa, PD Rohini, Lakshmi IM, Isvaran K, Ghosh SK, G Sutharsan, Ishtiaq F. Determinants of Aedes mosquito larval ecology in a heterogeneous urban environment- a longitudinal study in Bengaluru, India. MedRxiv doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2023.06.19.23291608
  • Shaw AG, Troman C, Akello JO, O’Reilly KM, Gauld J, Grow S, Grassly N, ….The Environmental Surveillance Working Group* (2023). Defining a research agenda for environmental surveillance of pathogens. Nature Medicine. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41591-023-02457-7
    *F Ishtiaq part of the Working Group.
  • Lamba S, Sutharsan G, Daroch N, Paul K, Joshi SG, Darshan S, Annamalai N, Vishwanath S, Mishra R, Ramakrishnan U, Ishtiaq F (2023). SARS-CoV-2 infection dynamics and genomic surveillance reveals early variant transmission in urban wastewater. Lancet Regional Health Southeast Asia. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lansea.2023.100151
  • Mozaffer F, Menon GI and Ishtiaq F (2022). Exploring the thermal limits of malaria transmission in the western Himalaya. Ecology and Evolution https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.9278
  • Martina F, Magallanes S…. Ishtiaq F… Marzal A (2023) Environmental, geographical, and time-related impacts on avian malaria infections in native and introduced populations of house sparrows (Passer domesticus), a globally invasive species. Global Ecology and Biogeography 32: 809-823
  • Nihad M, Rohini PD, Sutharsan G, Anagha A PK, Sumitha MK, Shanmuga Priya A, Rahul P, Sasikumar V, S Dasgupta, J Krishnan and F Ishtiaq (2022). Island biogeography and human practices drive ecological connectivity in mosquito species richness in Lakshadweep Archipelago. Scientific Reports 12:8060.
  • Ishtiaq F (2021) Ecology and evolution of avian malaria: implications of land use changes and climate change on disease dynamics. Jour. of Indian Institute of Science. 101: 213-225.
  • Ishtiaq F, S Swain, and S Sampath (2021) Anopheles stephensi: Vector of the Month. Trends in Parasitology. 37:571-572.
  • Menzies R, Borah J, Srinivasan U and Ishtiaq F (2021) The effect of habitat quality on the blood parasite assemblage in understory avian insectivores in the Eastern Himalaya. Ibis. 163:962-973.
  • Nandakumar M and Ishtiaq F (2020). Genetic drift and bottleneck do not influence diversity in toll-like receptor genes at a small spatial scale in a Himalayan passerine. Ecology & Evolution, 10(21): 12246-12263.
  • Chakravarty R, Reudi M, Ishtiaq F (2020) A recent survey of bats with descriptions of echolocation calls and new records from the western Himalayan region of Uttarakhand, India. Acta Chiropterologica, 22(1): 197–224
  • Grubaugh N, Ishtiaq F, Setoh YX and Ko AI (2019) Misperceived risks of Zika-related microcephaly in India. Trends in Microbiology, 27: 381-383.
  • Bhattacharyya S and Ishtiaq F (2019) Noninvasive sampling reveal population genetic structure in the Royle’s Pika (Ochotona roylei) in the western Himalaya. Ecology and Evolution, 9: 180-191.
  • Bhattacharyya S, Dawson D, Hipperson H, Ishtiaq F (2019) A diet rich in C3 plants reveals the sensitivity of an alpine mammal to climate change. Molecular Ecology, 28:250-265.
  • Ishtiaq F, Barve S (2018) Do avian blood parasites influence hypoxia physiology in montane birds? BMC Ecology, 18:15.
  • Ishtiaq F (2018) A call to introduce structured Zika surveillance in India. Trends in Parasitology, 34: 92-95.
  • Ishtiaq F, Bowden CGR, Jhala YV (2017) Seasonal dynamics in mosquito abundance and temperature do not influence avian malaria prevalence in the Himalayan foothills. Ecology & Evolution, 7:8040-8057.
  • Barve S, Dixit S, Dhondt AA, Ishtiaq F (2017) Sexual dimorphism in breast stripe width and beak ecomorphology in western Himalayan population of Green-backed Tits Parus monticolus. Avian Biology Research, 10(4):259-263.
  • Ishtiaq F, Rao M, Palinauskas V (2019) Molecular characterisation and morphological description of a prevalent parasite Haemoproteus leiothrichus sp. nov. in laughingthrushes (Leiothrichidae) in the eastern and western Himalaya, India. Wellcome Open Research, 3:94.
  • Ishtiaq F (2017) Exploring host and geographical shifts in transmission of haemosporidians a Palaearctic passerine wintering in India. Journal of Ornithology, 158:869-874.
  • Ishtiaq F, Rao M, Huang X, Bensch S (2017) Estimating prevalence of avian haemosporidians in natural populations – a comparative study on screening protocols. Parasites & Vectors, 10: 127.
  • Barve S, Dhondt AA, Mathur VB, Ishtiaq F, Cheviron ZA (2017) Life-history characteristics influence physiological strategies to cope with hypoxia in Himalayan birds. Royal Soc. London B 284: 1846.
  • Clark NJ, Olsson-Pons S, Ishtiaq F, Clegg SM (2015) Specialist enemies, generalist weapons and the potential spread of exotic pathogens: malaria parasites in a highly invasive bird. International Journal of Parasitology, 45 (14):891-899.
  • Olsson-Pons S, Clark NJ, Ishtiaq F, Clegg SM (2015) Differences in host species relationships and biogeographic influences produce contrasting patterns of prevalence, community composition and genetic structure in two genera of avian malaria parasites in southern Melanesia. Journal of Animal Ecology, 84(4): 985-998.
  • Ishtiaq F, Prakash V, Green RE, Johnson J (2014) Management implications of genetic studies for ex situ populations of three critically endangered Asian Gyps vultures. Animal Conservation, 18(3): 259-270.
  • Price T, Hooper DM, Buchanan CD, Johansson UF, Tietze DT, Alstrom P, Olsson P, Ghosh-Harihar M, Ishtiaq F, Gupta SK, Martens J, Harr B, Singh P, Mohan D (2014) Niche filling slows the diversification of Himalayan Songbirds. Nature, 509: 222-225.
  • Ishtiaq F, Gilbert G, Brown J, Joyner P, Stallknecht DD (2012) Antibodies to influenza A virus in wild birds across Mongolia from 2006 through 2009. Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 48(3): 768-775.
  • Ishtiaq F, Beadell JS, Warren BH, Fleischer RC (2012) Diversity and distribution of avian haematozoan parasites in the western Indian Ocean region: a molecular survey. Parasitology, 139 (2):221-31.
  • Ishtiaq F, Dutta S, Yumnam B, Jhala YV (2011) Low genetic diversity in the endangered Great Indian Bustard (Ardeotis nigriceps) across India and implications for conservation. Conservation Genetics, 12 (3): 857-863.
  • Ishtiaq F, Javed S, Coulter MC, Rahmani AR (2010) Resource partitioning in three sympatric species of storks in Keoladeo National Park, India. Waterbirds, 33(1): 41-49.
  • Ishtiaq F, Clegg SM, Phillimore AB, Black RA, Owens IPF, Sheldon BC (2010) Biogeographical patterns of blood parasite lineage diversity in avian hosts from southern Melanesian islands. Journal of Biogeography, 37: 120-132.
  • Beadell JS, Covas R, Melo M, Ishtiaq F, SL Perkins, GR Graves, RC Fleischer (2009). Host-associations and evolutionary relationships of avian blood parasites from West Africa. International Journal of Parasitology, 39(2): 257-266.
  • Ishtiaq F, L Guillaumot, SM Clegg, AB Phillimore, RA Black, IPF Owens, NI Mundy, BC Sheldon (2008). Avian haematozoan parasites and their associations with mosquitoes across southwest Pacific Islands. Molecular Ecology, 17: 4545-4555.
  • Ishtiaq F, Gering E, Rappole J, Rahmani AR, Jhala YV, Dove C, Milensky C, Olson S, Peirce M, Fleischer RC (2007). Prevalence and diversity of avian haematozoan parasites in Asia: a regional survey. Journal of Wildlife Diseases, 43(3): 382-398.
  • Beadell JS, Ishtiaq F, Covas R, Melo M, Warren BH, Atkinson CT, Bensch S, Graves GR, Jhala YV, MA Peirce, Rahmani AR, Fonseca DM, Fleischer RC (2006). Global phylogeographic limits of Hawaii’s avian malaria. Royal Soc. London B, 273: 2935-2944.
  • Ishtiaq F, Beadell JS, Baker AJ, Rahmani AR, Jhala YV, Fleischer RC (2006). Prevalence and evolutionary relationships of haematozoan parasites in native versus introduced populations of common myna Acridotheres tristis. Proc. Royal Soc. London B, 273: 587-594.
  • Durrant KL, Beadell JS, Ishtiaq F, Graves GR, Olson SL, Gering E, Peirce M, Milensky CM, Schmidt BK, Gebhard C, Fleischer RC (2006). Avian haematozoa in South America: a comparison of temperate and tropical zones. Ornithological Monographs, 60: 98-111.
  • Ishtiaq F, Rahmani AR (2005). The Forest Owlet Heteroglaux blewitti: Vocalization, breeding biology and conservation. Ibis, 147:197–205.
  • Ishtiaq F, Rahmani AR, Javed S, Coulter MC (2004). Nest-site characteristics of Black-necked Stork Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus and Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus in Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, India. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 101 (1):90-95.
  • Ishtiaq F, Rahmani AR (2000). Further information on the status and distribution of Forest Owlet Athene blewitti in India. Forktail (16): 125-130.
  • Ishtiaq F, Rahmani AR (2000). Cronism in Forest Spotted Owlet Athene blewitti. Forktail (16): 172- 173.
  • Rasmussen CP, Ishtiaq F (1999). Vocalizations and Behaviour of Forest Spotted Owlet Athene blewitti. Forktail (15): 61-66.
  • Ishtiaq F (1998). Cannibalism in Woolly-necked Stork Ciconia episcopus. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 95(2): 337.

Book chapters and conference proceedings

  • Ishtiaq F (2023) Avian Disease: Major Threats to birds in India. Pp 84-84. In SOIB 2023. State of India’s Birds, 2023: Range, trends, and conservation status. The SoIB Partnership.
  • Ishtiaq F and Renner S (2020) Chapter 16: Bird Migration and Vector-born Parasite Transmission. In Diego Santiago-Alarcon and Alfonso Marzal (eds) Avian malaria and related parasites in the tropics: ecology, evolution, and systematics. Springer Nature Switzerland. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-51633-8_16
  • Ishtiaq F, Jhunjhunwala S, Islam Z, Rahmani AR (2000). Conservation of Galliformes through IBA Approach. Proceedings of the 2nd International Galliformes Symposium. Kathmandu and Royal Chitwan Park, Nepal. Pp. 17-25.
  • Ishtiaq F, Rahmani AR, Rasmussen PC (2002). Ecology and behaviour of the Forest Owlet (Athene blewitti). In Newton, I., Kavanagh, R.P., Olsen, J. & Taylor, I.R. 2002. Ecology and Conservation of Owls. Melbourne: CSIRO Publishing. Pp. 80-88.

Science Communication