Microbes - microscopic lifeforms such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi - are the most abundant species on our planet. Microbes underwrite the earth's ecosystem, colonize humans and animals and sustain their physiology, invade susceptible hosts to cause illness or death, and represent an inexhaustible source of discovery and engineering tools for research and translational opportunity. To illustrate the point: CRISPR-Cas, the bacterial immune system recognizing DNA, can be engineered in ingenious ways to generate mutations in cells of all living organisms and represents a technological platform wherewith humans correct inborn errors of their germline or cancers. To meet their mission of research, education, and translational opportunity, Universities and Medical schools everywhere sustain programs in microbiology. Recognizing this, the University of Chicago established the Department of Microbiology in 2004.