About the Symposium

The Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital is proud to announce the Warren M. Zapol Symposium on Anesthesia & Critical Care Research. The event will take place from Friday, June 9 to Saturday, June 10, 2023.

Dr. Warren M. Zapol (1942-2021) was a unique physician, scientist, inventor, explorer, and mentor. He began his lifelong affiliation with Mass General as an anesthesia resident in 1970 and served as anesthetist-in-chief from 1994-2008. Warren pioneered a wide range of novel therapies for critical illnesses, including extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, inhaled gases, phototherapy, and drugs. Inhaled nitric oxide (iNO) was a central focus of his research and of the Anesthesia Center for Critical Care Research, which he founded. The aim of the Warren Zapol Symposium is to celebrate his life and continue his legacy of advancing medical care through novel, collaborative, basic and clinical research.

*Registration is required and can be done here. Please email Missy Flynn with any questions.

Event Agenda

Friday, June 9: Therapeutic Gases & Scientific Discoveries

8:00 am: Welcome and Continental Breakfast

8:30-9:15 am: Opening Session

  • Oluwaseun Johnson-Akeju and Robert E. Kingston: Welcome and introduction
  • Nikki, David, and Liza Zapol and Dr. Paul Alfille: Family reflections

Short break and restart @ 9:30 AM

9:30-11:00 am: Nitric oxide
Chairs: Dr. Lorenzo Berra and Dr. Fumito Ichinose


  • Louis Ignarro: Biology of nitric oxide (recorded video)
  • Jesse Roberts: Nitric oxide, a critical regulator of newborn lung development and function
  • Mark Gladwin: Nitric oxide, metabolites, and hemoglobin

Short break and restart @ 11:15 AM

11:15 am - 12:15 pm: Sickle Cell Anemia, Carbon Monoxide, and Hydrogen Sulfide
Chairs: Dr. Mark Gladwin and Dr. Donald Bloch


  • Akito Nakagawa: Identification of small molecules that regulate the affinity of hemoglobin for oxygen; implications for the treatment of sickle cell disease
  • Luca Zazzeron: Carbon monoxide poisoning and phototherapy
  • Fumito Ichinose: Hydrogen sulfide, from suspended animation to neuroprotection

12:15 pm: Lunch break

1:45-2:45 pm: A World of Discoveries: Part 1

Science from the Arctic and Beyond
Chairs: Dr. Stuart Harris and Dr. James Rathmell


  • Mead Treadwell: Polar biology, geophysics, and human health—what explorer and adventurer Dr. Warren Zapol brought home
  • Emmanuel Buys: Antarctic adventures and Weddell seal research

Short break and restart @ 3:00 PM

3:00-4:30 pm: A World of Discoveries: Part 2

Evolution, Oxygen, and WildernessLearning from Mammalian Adaptations to Extreme Conditions
Chairs: Dr. Emmanuel Buys and Dr. Ryan Carroll


  • Paul Falkowski: The emergence of oxygen and the evolution of large placental mammals
  • Vamsi Mootha: Hypoxia as a therapy for mitochondrial disease
  • Diana Laird: Extreme reproductive longevity in the naked mole-rat
  • Stuart Harris: Physiological adaptation to extreme conditions

Short break and restart @ 4:45 PM

4:45-5:30 pm: The Warren M. Zapol Symposium Lecture


  • Emery N. Brown with introduction by Dr. Johnson-Akeju: Anesthesia and the brain, new understanding in neurosciences
Saturday, June 10: Nitric Oxide, Respiratory Failure, Sepsis & Innovation in Medicine

8:00 am: Welcome and Continental Breakfast

8:30-9:30 am: Nitric Oxide & Respiratory Failure: Part 1

Nitric Oxide
Chairs: Dr. Fumito Ichinose and Dr. Lorenzo Berra


  • Carl Nathan: Nitric oxide, antimicrobial mechanisms, and bacterial resistance
  • Lorenzo Berra: High dose inhaled nitric oxide, recent clinical findings
  • Pankaj Arora: Recent advances in the clinical use of inhaled nitric oxide

Short break and restart @ 9:45 AM

9:45-11:00 am: Nitric Oxide & Respiratory Failure: Part 2

Respiratory failure, the Known and Unknown
Chairs: Dr. Antonio Pesenti and Dr. Jeanine Wiener-Kronish


  • Daniel Talmor: What we learned (and did not) during COVID-19 and in ARDS
  • Katerina Vaporidi: Respiratory drive-in respiratory failure
  • Maurizio Cereda: Lung imaging in respiratory failure
  • Ryan Carroll: Respiratory failure in children

Short break and restart @ 11:15 AM

11:15 am - 12:15 pm: Sepsis, Inflammation, and Atherosclerosis
Chairs: Dr. Donald Bloch and Dr. Maurizio Cereda


  • H. Shaw Warren: Sepsis and animal models to study sepsis
  • Aranya Bagchi: Iron and inflammation
  • Rajeev Malhotra: Atherosclerosis and vascular calcification mechanisms

12:15 pm: Lunch break

1:15-2:15 pm: Innovation in Pain and Neuroplasticity
Chairs: Dr. Jianren Mao and Dr. Clifford Woolf


  • Clifford Woolf: Understanding and conquering pain
  • Gary Brenner: Attenuated Salmonella typhimurium as immunotherapy for painful nerve sheath tumors
  • Brian Wainger: Toward novel pain treatments

Short break and restart @ 2:30 PM

2:30-3:30 pm: Innovation in Medicine: Part 1

How to Go About Innovation in Research, in Academia, and in Education
Chairs: Ryan Carroll, Nathaniel Sims, and David Zapol


  • Richard Rox Anderson: Teaching out of the box, an MIT course on innovation
  • Paul Yu: A journey from basic science lab discovery to drug development
  • Robert Langer: From nanotechnology to mRNA therapies, and what’s to come—how overcoming skepticism and barriers led to new cancer and heart disease treatments, vaccines, and ways to tackle global health challenges (recorded video)

Short break and restart @ 3:45 PM

3:45-4:45 pm: Innovation in Medicine: Part 1

Inhaled Nitric Oxide Therapy from Idea to Commercialization, a 30-year Story


  • Ashleigh Palmer: Visionary and pragmatist, lightning only strikes once
  • Binglan Yu: Beyond cylinders, production of nitric oxide from air
  • David Zapol: Next generation nitric oxide

4:45-5:00 pm: Concluding Remarks


  • Fumito Ichinose

Download the agenda >

Preliminary List of Invited Faculty