This publication provides a brief summary of a presentation given at the NICHD Anniversary Symposium that was designed to describe the research progress of the O'Malley laboratory over the past 30 years of its NICHD funding. It highlights a few of the lab's major discoveries during the course of the pursuit of its long-standing goal to define the molecular pathway for steroid hormone action. The key discovery that set the scientific tone for the lab over the ensuing few decades began with the discovery that steroid hormones induced the nuclear production of specific mRNAs for ovalbumin and avidin in the chick oviduct. This completed the pathway from receptor to specific proteins and indicated that steroid receptors were transcription factors. More recently the lab discovered the first coactivators (e.g., SRC-1) for steroid hormone receptors and has subsequently elucidated the many and diverse roles of nuclear coactivators in transcription reactions and in cell signaling.