This year, in response to member input and suggestions to highlight the vibrant basic science of endocrinology, The Endocrine Society Annual Meeting (ENDO 08) introduced a new feature, The Year in Basic Science series. Among the many interests and strengths of our members, three broad areas were chosen for initial consideration: nuclear receptors, kinase signaling, and hormones and cancer. Speakers were invited to present and discuss important publications during the past year between annual meetings (roughly June to June), and to put these findings into broad perspective for the endocrine community. Three distinguished researchers, Bert O’Malley, Tony Means, and Kate Horwitz, graciously agreed to participate in the inaugural venture, and this series of articles is based on their presentations at ENDO 08. Each individual approached this somewhat daunting task slightly differently. However, all three observed important and often common themes that ultimately link current basic molecular findings to broad translational and clinical problems, including metabolism and energy balance, neuronal migration and synapse formation, long-term memory formation, and endocrine pathology in cancer, reproduction and osteoporosis.