Dr. Kirsten de Beurs has a background in remote sensing research with a strong understanding of the effect of institutional changes on the land surface, in particular in dryland regions. She has a Masters degree from the Wageningen University in the Netherlands focused on biometry and a Ph.D. in Natural Resources from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Since the start of her Ph.D. in 2002 she has worked on several NASA-funded projects. For her Ph.D. she investigated the effects of the collapse of the Soviet Union on land surface changes, first in Kazakhstan and subsequently in other Central Asian states. During her first post-doc she investigated the effects of war and drought in Afghanistan, and researched changes in the central Eurasian grain bel. During her second post-doc she was part of a project investigating the effect of gypsy moth defoliation in Mid-Atlantic forests. Since starting as an assistant professor first at Virginia Tech in August 2007, and then at The University of Oklahoma, she has extended her research to agricultural drylands in the Sahel as well as agricultural regions in European Russia. She is an author on 25 manuscripts and PI on a large NASA Land Cover Land Use Change project investigating land abandonment in Russia and climate change: “Land Abandonment in Russia: Understanding Recent Trends and Assessing Future Vulnerability and Adaptation to Changing Climate and Population Dynamics”. She currently advises four PhD and one MSc student.