We are grateful to many individuals and organizations who have contributed to the success of this conference. We owe a special thanks to the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics of Michigan State University (MSU), which through its chair Dr. Walt Esselman supported scholarships for students to attend the conference, as well as Dr. Szostak’s public lecture. Dr. Satish Udpa, the Dean of the MSU College of Engineering, also contributed to support the public outreach effort and was an enthusiastic supporter of the conference. We are also grateful to the MSU College of Social Sciences, the MSU Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior Program (EEBB) through its director Dr. Kay Holekamp, the Department of Zoology and its chair Dr. Fred Dyer, and in particular to the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action, who provided funds that made it possible for numerous individuals to attend this conference through scholarships.