As Nature Reviews Immunology reaches its 10(th) anniversary, the authors of one of the top-cited articles from each year take a trip down memory lane. We've asked them to look back on the state of research at the time their Review was published, to consider why the article has had the impact it has and to discuss the future directions of their field. This Viewpoint article provides an interesting snapshot of some of the fundamental advances in immunology over the past 10 years. Highlights include our improved understanding of Toll-like receptor signalling, and of immune regulation mediated by regulatory T cells, indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase, myeloid-derived suppressor cells and interleukin-10. The complexities in the development and heterogeneity of macrophages, dendritic cells and T helper cells continue to engage immunologists, as do the immune processes involved in diseases such as atherosclerosis. We look forward to what the next 10 years of immunology research may bring.