About the Program

2021 Program Learning Objectives

The 2021 Aspen Lung Conference has the following Specific Aims / 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.

Intended Audience

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. 

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 potential pharmacologic treatment for ARDS, 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, entitled ARDS in the 21st Century: New Insights Into Clinical and Mechanistic Heterogeneity, will integrate cutting edge basic, translational, and clinical research 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. 

This Conference will provide an international forum bringing together leading basic, translational, and clinical ARDS researchers while welcoming research 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). Three Thomas L. Petty Fellow Travel Awards will be awarded in the amount of $1,000/award to help defray the costs for female and under-represented minority fellows to present an abstract

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 1622, Parker, CO 80134   Phone:  (303) 358-2797.  E-Mail: Jeanne.Cleary@ucdenver.edu or visit our website at www.aspenlungconference.org.


63rd Annual Meeting
June 9 - June 12, 2021
“ARDS in the 21st Century:  New Insights into Clinical
  and Mechanistic Heterogeneity”
Eric P. Schmidt, M.D., Chair
Lorraine B. Ware, M.D., Chair
Rachel L. Zemans, M.D., Chair



“ARDS from the 20th to 21st Century”
Michael A. Matthay, M.D.
San Francisco, California

“ARDS Subphenotypes and Impact on Treatment Response”
Carolyn S. Calfee, M.D.
San Francisco, California

“Genetic Heterogeneity of ARDS”
Nuala Meyer, M.D., M.S. (MSTR)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“WNT Signaling Niches in Alveolar Epithelial Repair”
Tushar Desai, M.D.
Stanford, California

“Regeneration of the Alveolar Epithelium After Acute Lung Injury”
Rachel L. Zemans, M.D.
Ann Arbor, Michigan

“Lung Endothelial Modulation of Brain Dysfunction After Pulmonary Infection”
Troy Stevens, Ph.D.
Mobile, Alabama

“The Angiopoietins and Tie-2 in Sepsis and ARDS”
Samir Parikh, M.D.
Boston, Massachusetts

“Clinical Trial Design in the Age of Heterogeneity”
B. Taylor Thompson, M.D.
Boston, Massachusetts

“Novel Computational Approaches to Translate Patient
Heterogeneity into Mechanistic Insights”
Lisa Bastarache, M.S.
Nashville, Tennessee

“Neutrophil-Platelet Interactions in ARDS”
Mark R. Looney, M.D.
San Francisco, California

“Macrophage Dynamics and Functional Heterogeneity in Lung Injury and Repair”
Suzanne V. Herold, M.D., Ph.D.
Giessen, Germany

“The Multiple Phenotypes of Chronic Critical Illness”
Catherine “Terri” Hough, M.D., M.S.
Seattle, Washington

Thomas R. Martin, M.D.
Seattle, Washington

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 are able to join us. 

Americans with Disabilities Act Statement: Please indicate if you have any need for auxiliary aids or special assistance services.

Accreditation Statement 

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.


2021 Annual Meeting

ARDS in the 21st Century:  New Insights into Clinical and Mechanistic Heterogeneity
June 9-12, 2021

2022 Annual Meeting

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