The basic science and translational studies in Respirology in 2008 have extended our understanding of airway, lung and pleural diseases. The studies have shown the usefulness of animal models of pathogenesis, and the relevance of genetic susceptibility and gene-environmental interaction in the development of airway disease. Biomarkers of airway disease, ALI, pleural disease and interstitial lung disease have also been identified. Models of mucus hypersecretion and response to airway infection have extended our knowledge of exacerbations of airway diseases. Several studies have shown how to modify lung injury and repair in animal models, using antioxidants, immunosuppressive agents or specific ventilator techniques. The challenge now will be to take these important observations further, to discover novel methods of diagnosis, prevention and treatment of acute and chronic lung diseases.