Victoria Orphan

Orphan Victoria 250


Victoria Orphan has been a pioneer in shaping our understanding of a globally significant anaerobic ecosystem associated with methane hydrates throughout the world's oceans. Her coupling of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) with secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) to study microbial consortia catalyzing the anaerobic oxidation of methane
(AOM) has shown it is possible to illuminate the metabolic activity of poorly accessible microbes environments at the single cell level.


Victoria Orphan is one of the most highly respected early mid-career investigators in the field of molecular microbial ecology. If the Academy desires to diversify its membership, there is no more deserving person it could select to name a fellow. Victoria has made pioneering contributions to the study of the anaerobic oxidation of methane (AOM) by globally- significant microbial consortia. She has been working on this problem since she was a graduate student in Ed DeLong's lab, and is one of the acknowledged leaders in the field. Over the past decade, she and her students have pushed their ability to understand these consortia using FISH-SIMS with increasing sophistication and rigor, including sequencing
the metagenomes of these communities and working hard to improve their visualization methods and quantitative analytical capability. Victoria has a very high standard for her science, and is fearless about developing creative new methods to explore challenging microbial habitats.

This is a winning combination, and has lead to the following recognition:

Presidential Early Career Award in Science and Engineering, DOE Early Career Award, Young Investigator Award by the International Society of Microbial Ecology, and 2-time naming as a Moore Foundation Investigator (both a young investigator, and now a full investigator). In addition to her many research accomplishments, Victoria is a marvelous mentor to young people in her field and is highly beloved as well as respected. She served as a faculty in residence for 5 summers at the Microbial Diversity course (MBL, Woods Hole, MA) where she had a tremendous positive impact on over 100 students. She is a committed mentor to her own students and postdocs, and several of her former mentees are now in faculty positions
at top institutions around the country.


Previous: Shigetou Namba                                                                                      Next: Karen Otteman