The history of our planet is underpinned by roughly 4 billion years of microbial evolution. From its emergence in a (probably) hot and anoxic environment, microbial life has evolved to colonize every available niche on our planet, including the inside and outside of other organisms. Yet, the emergence and evolution of microbial metabolism remains a major unsolved problem. How have microbes adapted to colonize every available environmental niche, including other organisms? How did they evolve to colonize mammals and our human ancestors? Answers to these questions will allow us to understand the emergence and evolution of life on our planet, inform the search for life elsewhere and, in the making, reveal important insight that will help us fight infections.

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