There is an ongoing race between bacterial evolution and medical advances. Pathogens have the advantages of short generation times and horizontal gene transfer that enable rapid adaptation to new host environments and therapeutics that currently outpaces clinical research. Antibiotic resistance, the growing impact of nosocomial infections, cancer-causing bacteria, the risk of zoonosis, and the possibility of biowarfare all emphasize the increasingly urgent need for medical research focussed on bacterial pathogens. Bacterial glycoproteins are promising targets for alternative therapeutic intervention since they are often surface exposed, involved in host-pathogen interactions, required for virulence, and contain distinctive glycan structures. The potential exists to exploit these unique structures to improve clinical prevention, diagnosis, and treatment strategies. Translation of the potential in this field to actual clinical impact is an exciting prospect for fighting infectious diseases.