QBE Seminar Series welcomes Vanessa Phelan, the L.S. Skaggs Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, with University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
Microbial natural products continue to have a profound impact on human health. While environmental natural products are widely used in medicine, structurally related metabolites are an integral component of the ‘language’ microbes use to interact within human microbiome communities. These chemical signals act as directives to neighboring microbes, which influence how the microbiome responds to environmental changes. We aim to understand the ecological roles of natural products in the development and persistence of chronic infections, specifically between members of the cystic fibrosis pulmonary microbiota and elucidate their functional roles in community dynamics. To do this, we develop and apply analytical methods to analyze microbial metabolomics methods and develop culturomics tools to enable long-term growth of the microbiome to mimic the chronic lung infections observed in cystic fibrosis.
Vanessa’s main research interest is in microbial chemical ecology of infections, with a special interest in the development and application of new tools to investigate how microbes in microbiome communities use metabolites to communicate with each other.