Investigation into the mechanism of cytokine signaling led to the discovery of the JAK/STAT pathway. Following the binding of cytokines to their cognate receptor, signal transducers and activators of transcription (STATs) are activated by members of the janus activated kinase (JAK) family of tyrosine kinases. Once activated, they dimerize and translocate to the nucleus and modulate the expression of target genes. During the past several years significant progress has been made in the characterization of the JAK/STAT signaling cascade, including the identification of multiple STATs and regulatory proteins. Seven STATs have been identified in mammals. The vital role these STATs play in the biological response to cytokines has been demonstrated through the generation of murine 'knockout' models. These mice will be invaluable in carefully elucidating the role STATs play in regulating the host response to various stresses. Similarly, the solution of the crystal structure of two STATs has and will continue to facilitate our understanding of how STATs function. This review will highlight these exciting developments in JAK/STAT signaling.