ARDS in the 21st Century: New Insights into Clinical and Mechanistic Heterogeneity

Eric Schmidt, M.D., Chair
Lorraine Ware, M.D., Chair
Rachel Zemans, M.D., Chair

The Gant Conference Center
Aspen, Colorado

The 63rd Annual Thomas L. Petty Aspen Lung Conference will convene at the Gant Conference Center in Aspen, Colorado. The theme of the conference will be “ARDS in the 21st Century: New Insights into Clinical and Mechanistic Heterogeneity.”

The Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) represents a common syndrome arising from numerous, heterogeneous, and often-independent disease processes.  Accordingly, a single ARDS study drug, if uniformly applied to all patients regardless of underlying disease pathophysiology, would likely fail to consistently improve patient outcomes. For clinical studies to overcome this obstacle, a new appreciation of ARDS mechanistic and phenotypic heterogeneity is required, enabling future precision medicine approaches to the recognition and treatment of lung injury. 

The 2021 Thomas L. Petty Aspen Lung Conference will integrate basic, translational, and clinical approaches to address the impact of ARDS heterogeneity, with a focus on (1) understanding the presence and therapeutic significance of ARDS mechanistic and phenotypic subtypes, (2) exploring multi-cellular and multi-systemic mechanisms responsible for this heterogeneity, and (3) determining how to best account for disease heterogeneity during clinical trial design and outcome assessment. Heterogeneity within COVID-19 ARDS, as well as between COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 ARDS, will also be discussed.  

This conference will provide an international forum bringing together leading basic, translational, and clinical ARDS researchers while welcoming trainees in pulmonology and critical care medicine, with the goal of identifying shared interests that will lead to more productive research and more effective personalized therapies. Finally, the varied scientific themes and therapeutic strategies emerging during the conference will be reconciled in a concluding Conference Summary presented by Dr. Thomas Martin (University of Washington). 

Intended Audience

Local/Regional/National/International Physicians/Clinicians (adult and pediatric)/Research Physician-Scientists in Pulmonary Sciences, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine/Research Scientists (PhD) in lung injury/Primary Care Physicians/General Medicine Physicians/Public Health.

Call for Abstracts

We invite you and your colleagues to submit abstracts‚Äč for consideration for a podium presentation and/or a poster at the conference. We are particularly interested in attracting translational basic or clinical research abstracts related to the selected thematic topics.

We will offer three Thomas L. Petty Fellow Travel Awards in the amount of $1,000 each to three female and under-represented minority fellows whose abstracts have been accepted for podium presentations. 

For more information, contact: Eric Schmidt, M.D., c/o Jeanne Cleary, Thomas L. Petty Aspen Lung Conference, PO Box 1231, Parker, CO 80134 Phone: (303) 358-2797. E-Mail:



We look forward to your participation in the Thomas L. Petty Aspen Lung Conference, 63rd Annual Meeting and to a combination of outstanding science and great fun. We hope that you and your colleagues can join us.

Eric Schmidt, M.D., Chair
Lorraine Ware, M.D., Chair
Rachel Zemans, M.D., Chair



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