Understanding optimality principles shaping the evolution of regulatory networks control- ling metabolism is crucial for deriving a holistic picture of how metabolism is integrated into key cellular processes such as growth, adaptation and pathogenicity. While in the past the focus of research in pathway regulation was mainly based on stationary states, more recently dynamic optimization has proved to be an ideal tool to decipher regulatory strategies for metabolic pathways in response to environmental cues. In this short review, we summarize recent advances in the elucidation of optimal regulatory strategies and identi fi cation of optimal control points in metabolic pathways. We discuss biological implications of the discovered optimality principles on genome organization and provide examples how the derived knowledge can be used to identify new treatment strategies against pathogens. Furthermore, we brie fl y discuss the variety of approaches for solving dynamic optimization problems and emphasize whole-cell resource allocation models as an important emerging area of research that will allow us to study the regulation of metabolism on the whole-cell level.