Victoria Orphan is a geobiologist whose research sheds new light on microbial communities in extreme environments and their impact on the cycling of nutrients and energy through the oceans. Much of her work focuses on microorganisms living in deep-sea beds that sequester large quantities of methane released from seeps in the ocean floor. Because these microbes cannot easily be cultured (or grown) in the laboratory, Orphan skillfully combines techniques from molecular biology and mass spectrometry into novel methods that enable the capture and analysis of the activities of individual microbial cells, as well as the relationships among different microbes, in their natural environments. Victoria Orphan received a B.A. (1994) and Ph.D. (2001) from the University of California at Santa Barbara and was a National Research Council Associate (2002–2004) at the NASA Ames Research Center. In 2004, she joined the faculty of the California Institute of Technology, where she is currently the James Irvine Professor of Environmental Science and Geobiology in the Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences. Orphan is also, since 2008, an adjunct scientist with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, and her scientific articles have appeared in Science, Nature, Environmental Microbiology, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, among many others.