Vanessa V. Phelan was born and raised in upstate New York. In 2002, she began undergraduate studies at the University at Albany, SUNY. During that time, she conducted research in the laboratory of Professor Ravindra Gupta. In 2005, Vanessa moved South to join Professor Brian O. Bachmann's lab at Vanderbilt University in the Department of Chemistry. Her graduate studies focused on unraveling the biosynthesis of two peptide natural products: K-26 and anthramycin. Both of these molecules have unusual pharmacophores. In 2011, after receiving her Ph.D., Vanessa moved to the West Coast to work with Professor Pieter C. Dorrestein as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, San Diego where she developed a research program focusing on using state-of-the-art mass spectrometry techniques to characterize the small molecule chemical communication between pathogens affecting cystic fibrosis patients. This work was funded by an NIH K01 award in 2012. With her training complete, Vanessa joined the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Colorado, Denver in March of 2016. In July of 2017, Vanessa received a secondary appointment in the Department of Immunology and Microbiology in the School of Medicine. Her group's research centers on using interdisciplinary techniques to unravel the role of microbial metabolites of microbiome communities, particularly infections.