The Department of Microbiology and Physiological Systems was founded in 2010, and is the product of a merger between two departments, one focused on microbiology, genetics, and immunology, and the other focused on physiology. Capitalizing on the strength of the respective scientific research programs, the resulting department has strong and synergistic expertise in bacterial and viral pathogenesis, immunology, signal transduction, and fundamental cellular physiology. Current departmental research targets include viral and bacterial pathogens affecting the nervous, respiratory, and digestive systems. The mission of the new department is to address important biological questions broadly relevant to infectious disease and encompassing multiple levels of biological organization, including an understanding of pathogen effects on their target organ systems. Together, investigators in the department utilize multidisciplinary approaches that integrate genomic, proteomic, high-resolution imaging, and computational methodologies to characterize the networks of pathogen/host interactions at the molecular level. Comparisons of these networks with the set of interactions that define normal physiology in the respective organ systems fosters the development of computational models that simulate infection and new approaches to disease-specific diagnostics, prognostics, and therapeutics. This is of great potential in an era where new patterns of human interaction, changes in global climate, and emergence of drug resistance have contributed to the specter of world-wide epidemics, such as AIDS, influenza, and tuberculosis. Thus, the department is building a vibrant, growing, and highly interactive scientific community that will complement the medical school’s growth in translational research.