Sepsis has over the years proven a considerable challenge to physicians and researchers. Numerous pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions have been tested in trials, but have unfortunately failed to improve the general prognosis. This has led to the speculation that the sepsis population may be too heterogeneous to be targeted with the traditional one treatment suits all' approach. Recent advances in genetic and biochemical analyses now allow genotyping and biochemical characterisation of large groups of patients via the 'omics' technologies. These new opportunities could lead to a paradigm shift in the approach to sepsis towards personalised treatments with interventions targeted towards specific pathophysiological mechanisms activated in the patient. In this article, we review the potentials and pitfalls of using new advanced technologies to deepen our understanding of the clinical syndrome of sepsis.