This singular image displays a wealth of structures and processes that we are only beginning to understood at a molecular level. Some are common to all life, such as protein synthesis and translocation, while others are unique, e.g., the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria. It is the goal of our research to characterize all of the pictured elements, and the pathways that give rise to their creation. By investigating the relationship between co-evolving development mechanisms and product functions, we aim to expose the underlying physical nature of life at atomic resolution.