Two Allen Distinguished Investigator awards were made in the fields of aging and principles of evolution. In aging, the creation of a universal epigenetic clock—or a way to gauge actual tissue age across many different species—could lead to new insights on the impact of aging and its connection to other age-related diseases like cancer and dementia. While evolution is typically modeled as a series of small mutations, new knowledge suggests that large, highly mobile sections of the genome can flow rapidly among organisms: a strategy employed by infectious bacteria to evade antibiotics. Preventing the next pandemic will require understanding and modeling these mobile genetic elements in bacteria and humans.