About the Program

The 63rd Annual Meeting, 2021

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 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). 

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.  

In summary, the conference distinguishes itself from other conference in this field by serving as a “think tank” to actively discuss the current state of the field and identify the future directions for basic, translational and clinical research in ARDS.

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: Jeanne.Cleary@cuanschutz.edu.

The 2021 Aspen Lung Conference has the following learning objectives:

  1. To discuss the historical rationale for, and current clinical significance of, ARDS phenotypic and genetic heterogeneity. After a focused review of the history of mechanistic ARDS investigations, thought leaders in ARDS heterogeneity will detail the evidence supporting the presence of phenotypic and genetic ARDS patient “endotypes”, inviting audience debate.
  2. To review and debate emerging mechanistic concepts potentially responsible for ARDS heterogeneity. Via State-of-the-Art lectures by emerging and established experts in the field, we will address critical concepts such as the complexity of epithelial signaling during lung repair, the vascular cross-talk of multisystem organ failure during ARDS, and leukocyte heterogeneity during pulmonary inflammation.
  3. To integrate concepts of ARDS heterogeneity into clinical trial design.  Experts in ARDS trial design and patient-centered outcomes will discuss emerging concepts in patient enrollment, outcome measures, and study design.  We will introduce novel “phenomic” approaches, representing big-data opportunities to utilize clinically-collected patient data to provide novel insights into ARDS pathogenesis.

At the conclusion of this conference attendees will be able to:

  1. Recognize the impact of mechanistic heterogeneity on ARDS presentation and response to treatment. 
  2. Recognize the molecular complexity underlying lung injury and repair, and the systemic impact of these processes on multi-organ system dysfunction. 
  3. Understand new approaches at clinical trial design and outcome measurements that capture the mechanistic (and phenotypic) heterogeneity of ARDS.
Local/Regional/National/International Physicians/Clinicians (adult and pediatric)/Research Physician-Scientists in Pulmonary Sciences, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine/Primary Care Physicians/General Medicine Physicians/Public Health. 
This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the University of Colorado School of Medicine and the Aspen Lung Conference. The University of Colorado School of Medicine is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Program Agenda

2021 Annual Meeting

ARDS in the 21st Century:  New Insights into Clinical and Mechanistic Heterogeneity
September 20-23, 2021

2022 Annual Meeting

Bridging the Gap between Innate and Adaptive Immunity in the Lung
June 8-11, 2022