The Microbial Sciences Initiative (MSI) at Harvard is an interdisciplinary science program aimed at a comprehensive understanding of the richest biological reservoir of the planet, the microbial world.

Microbes are ubiquitous and have an impact on every aspect of our existence. Yet, their intrinsic invisibility has meant that they have remained largely unknown, their effects and enormous potential often unrecognized. The recent realization of the vastness of microbial diversity and the genomics revolution have propelled the microbial sciences into an exciting new era of investigation.

MSI is playing a leadership role in this emerging area by creating an organizational focal point for microbial studies with strong links to already existing science departments at Harvard. MSI encourages broad interactions among microbial scientists across the Boston area and also connects work on microbial sciences to ongoing work in related areas including molecular biology, biogeochemistry, oceanography, and environmental engineering. In addition, MSI aids in the recruitment of new faculty in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and helps build bridges with microbial scientists at the Harvard Medical School and the Harvard School of Public Health. MSI has resources to support a variety of programs that encourage research interactions, including undergraduate fellowships for summer research, a graduate student consortium, seminars and a yearly symposium.