Acute respiratory infections such as pneumonia and influenza are an enormous public health problem, and trends suggest that the burden of disease due to viral, bacterial and fungal respiratory infection is likely to get worse rather than better in the coming years. The 2012 Gordon Research Conference (GRC) on Biology of Acute Respiratory Infections will focus attention on host-pathogen interactions including innate immunity, pathophysiology of disease, pathogenesis & virulence of the organisms and clinical disease & interventions. Perspectives to be considered include microbiology, immunology and physiology. Speakers have been chosen to give a broad, up-to -date overview of this rapidly evolving and multi-disciplinary field. The consistent aim of the GRC on Biology of Acute Respiratory Infections has been to bring together an outstanding and diverse group of experts from basic and applied science and clinical research from across the globe to foster communication among individuals and groups studying this common and important problem from distinct vantage points, to develop and encourage creative and multidisciplinary approaches to discovery. Elucidating the biology of respiratory infections will facilitate the development of innovative, effective prevention and treatment strategies for acute respiratory infections.