Predicting the future of the exobiology of molecular chaperones is bound to be risky business: after all, unravelling the intracellular lives of the chaperones has become legendary for its unexpected twists and turns. Can we expect differently for their extracellular capers? I cannot claim the clearest crystal, but I do have a unique perspective on the field from my perch as Editor-in-Chief of the major specialty journal in the field, Cell Stress & Chaperones. I will refer to papers in recent issues that will lead interested readers to other papers in key areas that I believe provide insights into the future as well. Perhaps we can begin to illuminate the crystal ball by listing major unsolved problems and by identifying the disciplines of the investigators that these problems are now attracting into the field.
One of the exciting and renewing aspects of the heat shock field, as it was known historically, has been the succession of colleagues from different disciplines that have entered and moved the field forward. The chance initial finding of the heat shock response in Drosophila by Ritossa in 1962  was pursued by a small group of Drosophila biologists until about 1978 when the response was discovered in a variety of other organisms. Molecular geneticists were attracted to the heat shock genes as models of inducible eukaryotic gene expression, and the field took on a more global interest.