Molly Brown

Research Professor

Research Interests Molly E. Brown, PhD

My research focuses on the nature-society interface, where environmental variability and change affects food security, nutrition outcomes, agricultural development and other aspects of society.  I use satellite remote sensing to understand environmental dynamics, and use social and economic datasets that allow for exploration of the impact of these dynamics on communities at a broad scale.  I conduct research in four areas: using long term data records in vegetation and rainfall to understand environmental change, particularly in Africa; research to develop new methods for ensuring the use of new and existing satellite remote sensing in applications with societal benefit; use of satellite data with demographic and nutrition household surveys to measure the impact of environmental shocks on human health outcomes; and the development of models and methods that enable the quantification of the impact of environmental and international food price shocks on local food prices. Ongoing projects include:

·       Developing new methods to integrate remote sensing data into econometric, nutrition, and food security models to improve our understanding of the effect of weather and climate on society;

·       Exploring the use of long term records of vegetation, rainfall, soil moisture and evaporative stress in agriculture insurance programs in Africa;

·       Working with local, national and international organizations to incorporate Earth science data and models to improve hazard early warning and understand of the threats of climate change;

·       Understand the value of satellite remote sensing data in decision making communities; and

·       Exploring the impact of changing cost of petroleum on the global food system, particularly in the context of increasing use of renewable fuels


Areas of Interest:
  • remote sensing, agriculture, food security, digital software
  • PhD Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland College Park
  • MA Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland College Park
  • BS Biology and Environmental Studies, Tufts University
National NAS Committee on Earth Sciences and Applications from Space
National The Culinary Institute of America Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health's Menus of Change STAC
Professional Member of the NACP Science Implementation Plan writing committee, to be issued 2018
Current Students
LeFrak Hall
Department of Geographical Sciences
Phone: (703) 855-6190
Office Hours:
7:30 am to 4:00 pm