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The 36th Annual C.R. Stephen Lecture: Pioneering Precision in Critical Care

The Department of Anesthesiology at Washington University School of Medicine proudly hosted its 36th Annual C.R. Stephen Lecture on Friday, March 22, 2024, at the Eric P. Newman Education Center. This annual lecture honors the legacy of C. Ronald Stephen, MD, FFARCS, the first chairman of the department in 1971.

“The C.R. Stephen Lecture provides a platform for internationally renowned scientists, whose work is relevant to the specialty of Anesthesiology, to present their cutting-edge research to members of our department and the broader WashU Medicine community,” remarked Michael S. Avidan, MBBCh, FCA SA, head of the Department of Anesthesiology. 

Carolyn S. Calfee, MD, MAS, a distinguished professor of medicine and anesthesia within the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, Allergy and Sleep Medicine at University of California, San Francisco, delivered this year’s compelling presentation titled “Molecular Phenotyping of Critical Illness: Is it Time for Precision Critical Care?” 

“This year, Dr. Carolyn Calfee continued the prestigious tradition of the C.R. Stephen Lecture and delivered a sophisticated and highly accessible talk on approaches to treating acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), viewed through a prism of patient-centered, precision medicine.”

Michael S. Avidan, MBBCh, FCA SA, head of the Department of Anesthesiology

In her enlightening lecture, Calfee shared insights from her NIH-funded research, focusing on the discovery of a “hyper-inflammatory” phenotype in approximately one-third of ARDS patients. This finding paves the way for more personalized, targeted interventions in critical care, showcasing the potential of precision medicine in the treatment of complex diseases.

“Dr. Calfee’s innovative approach to molecular phenotyping in ARDS has sparked significant interest in how we can apply precision medicine to improve patient outcomes,” noted the Dr. Seymour and Rose T. Brown Professor of Anesthesiology and Vice Chair for Research, Robert Gereau, PhD. Her presentation not only illuminated her groundbreaking discoveries but also inspired a vibrant discussion on the future of personalized care in critical illnesses.

“Attending the C.R. Stephen Lecture is always an enlightening experience. This year, Dr. Calfee’s presentation not only shed light on the forefront of critical care but also underscored the importance of bridging cutting-edge research with clinical practice. It’s a vivid reminder that in the rapidly evolving field of anesthesiology, staying at the cutting edge of research is not just beneficial—it’s imperative for improving patient outcomes,” shared Vice Chair of Anesthesiology and Division Chief of Critical Care Medicine, Anne M. Drewry, MD, MSCI.

The department is committed to fostering a culture of excellence and innovation in medical research and education. The C.R. Stephen Lecture series is a cornerstone of this commitment, bringing together the medical community to celebrate and learn from leading figures in anesthesiology and related disciplines. We encourage those interested in cutting-edge medical science to connect with us for updates on future lectures, seminars, and the impactful research conducted within our department and specialty.