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


  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland College Park
  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Maryland College Park
  • Degree Type
    Degree Details
    Biology and Environmental Studies, Tufts University
  • National
    National Academy of Science's Committee on Earth Sciences and Applications from Space
  • Professional
    The Culinary Institute of America Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health's Menus of Change STAC
  • National
    Member of the NACP Science Implementation Plan writing committee, to be issued 2018

Current Students

Related Students (Listed by Student on Student's Profile)

  • Matthew Cooper
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Off campus office
Department of Geographical Sciences
mbrown52 [at]
Office Hours
7:30 am to 4:00 pm