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College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences

Faculty and Staff Profile

Matthew Browning

Associate Professor
Director, Virtual Reality and Nature Lab

Office: Sirrine 120B

Phone: 540-315-7095


Educational Background

PhD Forest Resources & Environmental Conservation
Virginia Tech 2015

MESc Environmental Science
Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies 2012

BA Biology
Oberlin College 2005

Courses Taught

PRTM 2110 - Impacts of Technology and Science in the Context of Play, Recreation and Tourism
PADM 8450 - Grant Writing for Public Administration
PRTM 8110 - Research Methods in Parks, Recreation, and Tourism Management


Dr. Browning's 15 yr research career encompasses three domains (nature, health, virtual reality) and the intersections between them. He directs the Virtual Reality & Nature lab (VRN) at Clemson University, which researches the therapeutic effects of restorative environments on human health and looks for ways to evaluate and enhance the frequency, richness, and meaningfulness of human-nature interactions. Dr. Browning has published over 75 peer-reviewed articles and ranks among the top 15 most productive/cited scholars on nature and health based on PubMed metrics.

Research Interests

health and cognitive benefits of exposure to natural environments, virtual reality, environmental epidemiology, environmental psychology, children and nature

Research Publications

Becker, D., Browning, M., Yuan, S., McAnirlin, O., & Helbich, M. (2022). Opioid overdose mortality is related to green space: Evidence from counties across the United States. Urban Forestry & Urban Greening.
Brown, M., Shinn, L., Reeser, G., Browning, M., Schwingel, A., Khan, N. A., & Holscher, H. D. (2022). Environmental influences on the human gut microbiota: A longitudinal study. Scientific Reports.
Browning, M., Li, D., White, M., McAnirlin, O., & Benfield, J. (2022). Association between residential greenness during childhood and emotional intelligence during young adulthood: A retrospective life course analysis in the United States. Health & Place.
Browning, M., Rigolon, A., McAnirlin, O., & Yoon, H. (2022). Where green space matters most: A systematic review of urbanicity, green space, and physical health. Landscape and Urban Planning.
Dong, G-H., Luo, Y-N., Yang, B-Y., Zou, Z., Markevych, I., Browning, M., Heinrich, J., Bao, W-W., Guo, Y., Hu, L-W., Chen, G., Ma, J., Ma, Y., Chen, Y-J. (2022). Associations of greenness surrounding schools with blood pressure and hypertension: A nationwide cross-sectional study of 61,229 children and adolescents in China. Environmental Research.
Dzhambov, A. M., Lercher, P., Rudisser, J., Browning, M., & Markevych, I. (2022). Home gardens and distances to nature associated with school behavior problems in alpine schoolchildren: Role of secondhand smoke exposure and biomarkers. International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health.
Dzhambov, A. M., Markevych, I., Browning, M., Rüdisser, J., Lercher, P. (2022). Natural and built environments and blood pressure of alpine schoolchildren. Environmental Research.
Knaust, T. Hoellmer, H. & Browning, M. (In press). The relaxation effect of 360-degree nature videos presented with different immersion levels for patients with PTSD: A protocol for a randomized, controlled, mixed-methods feasibility study. European Journal of Psychotraumatology.
Labib, S.-M., Browning, M., Rigolon, A., Helbich, M., & James, P. (2022). Nature's contributions in coping with a pandemic in the 21st century: A narrative review of evidence during COVID-19. Science of the Total Environment.
Larson, L., Mullenbach, L. E., Browning, M., Rigolon, A., Thomsen, J., Metcalf, E. C., Reigner, N. P., Sharaievska, I., McAnirlin, O., D'Antonio, A., Cloutier, S., Helbich, M., & Labib, S. M. (2022). Park use and park area per capita predict psychological impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on U.S. college students. Environmental Research.
Li, H., Browning, M., Cao, Y., & Zhang, G. (2022). From childhood residential greenspace to adulthood green exercise and mental wellbeing: A path analysis among Chinese adults. Behavioral Sciences.
Li., D., Zhai, Y., Chang, P.-J., Merrill, J., Browning, M., & Sullivan, W. C. (In press). Nature deficit and senses: Relationships among childhood nature exposure and adulthood sensory profiles, creativity, and nature relatedness. Landscape & Urban Planning.
Liou, X-X, Ma, X-L., Huang, W-Z,. Luo, Y-N, He, C-J, Zhong, X-M, Dadvand, P., Browning, M., Li, L., Zou, X-G., Dong, G-H., & Yang, B-Y. (2022). Green space and cardiovascular disease: A systematic review with meta-analysis. Environmental Pollution.
Nukarinen, T., Rantala, J., Korpela, K., Browning, M., Istance, H., Surakka, V., & Raisamo, R. (2022). Measures and Modalities in Restorative Virtual Natural Environments: An Integrative Review. Computers in Human Behavior.
Patwary, M. M., Alam, A., Bardhan, M., Disha, A. S., Haque, Z., Billah, S. M., Kabir, P., Browning, M., Rahman, M., Parsa, A. D., & Kabir, R. (2022). COVID-19 Vaccine Acceptance among Low-and Lower-Middle-Income Countries: A Rapid Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Vaccines.
Patwary, M. M., Bardhan, M., Browning, M., Disha, A. S., Haque, Z., Billah, S. M., Kabir, P., Hossain, R., Alam, A., & Salman, A. (2022). Association between perceived trust of COVID-19 information sources and mental health during the early stage of the pandemic in Bangladesh. Healthcare.
Patwary, M. M., Disha, A., Bardhan, M., Haque, Z., Kasbir, P., Billah, S. M., Hossain, R., Alam, A., Browning, M., Shuvo, F. K., Piracha, A., Zhao, B., Swed, S., & Sha, J. (2022). Knowledge, attitudes, and practices (KAP) toward coronavirus and associated anxiety symptoms among university students: A cross-sectional study during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic in Bangladesh. Frontiers in Psychiatry.
Patwary, M., Bardhan, M., Disha, A. S., Kadir, P., Hossain, R., Alam, A., Haque, Z., Billah, S. M., Browning, M., Kabir, R., Sivasubramanian, M., Swed, S., & Shoib, S. (2022). Mental health status of university students and working professionals during the early stage of COVID-19 in Bangladesh. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.
Patwary, M., Bardhan, M., Haque, Z., Sultana, R., Alam, A., & Browning, M. (2022). COVID-19 vaccination among healthcare students: A systematic review with meta-analysis. Vaccines.
Patwary, M., Browning, M., Rodriguez-Morales, A. J., & Rodriguez Morales, A. (2022). War in the time of COVID-19 crisis: A public health emergency in Ukraine. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine.
Rezapour, M., Browning, M., Larson, L. R., & Rigolon, A. (In press). Correlates of stress are interactive and not unidimensional: Evidence from U.S. college students early in the COVID-19 pandemic. PLOS ONE.
Sharaievska, I., McAnirlin, O., Browning, M., et al. (2022).Messy transitions, productivity, and adaptability: Impact on higher education as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Higher Education.
Shin, S., Browning, M., & Dzhambov, A. (2022). Window access to nature restores: A virtual reality experiment with green views, sounds, and smells. Ecopsychology.
Sillman, D., Rigolon, A., Browning, M., Yoon, H., & McAnirlin, O. (2022). Do sex and gender modify the association between green space and physical health? A systematic review. Environmental Research.
Van Den Eeden, S. K., Browning, M., Becker, D. A., Shan, J., Alexeeff, S. E., Ray, G. T., et al. (2022). Association between residential green cover and direct health care costs in Northern California: An individual level analysis of 5 million persons. Environment International.
Yin, J., Bratman, G. N. Browning, M., Spengler, J. D., & Alvarez, H. A. O. (2022). Testing the savanna hypothesis: Effect of desert landscape on physiological stress recovery. Journal of Environmental Psychology.
Zhang, X., Browning, M., Luo, Y., & Li, H. (2022). Can sports cartoon watching in childhood promote adult physical activity and mental health? A pathway analysis in Chinese adults. Heliyon.

Honors and Awards

Best Presenter, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies (2012).
Park Break Fellow, National Park Service (2012).
Malmberg Fellow, American Swedish Institute (2012).
Teacher Ranked as Excellent by their Students, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2017,2019).
Plenary Speaker, Arbor Day Foundation Partners in Community Forestry Conference (2017).
Plenary Speaker, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Annual Faculty Teaching Retreat (2019).
Plenary Speaker, Beijing Forestry University Green Infrastructure and Public Health Seminar (2019).
Featured Article, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (2019).
Outstanding Reviewer Award, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (2019).
Scholarship in Journal Publication Award, College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences, Clemson University (2020).
Nominated “Top 3” Researcher to Clemson University Board of Trustees (2021).
Ranked in top 15 globally on in Nature and Health research based on recent PubMed articles and citations (2021).


Virtual Reality & Nature Lab


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College of Behavioral, Social and Health Sciences
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