Abstract Primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD) is a genetic disorder of abnormal ciliary structure and function that leads to defective mucociliary clearance, resulting in oto-sino-pulmonary disease, and infertility. The disease is currently under intense investigation by a number of research groups worldwide. At the recent American Thoracic Society meeting in San Francisco in May 2001, two sessions focused on PCD; a symposium session on May 21 with several featured expert speakers was followed by a mini-symposium on Tuesday May 22, with one featured speaker and presentation of nine abstracts covering a range of research topics. Mattias Salathe (University of Miami, USA) and Stephen Brody (Washington University, St Louis, USA) chaired the symposium session. Presentations focused on the clinical spectrum of PCD, the genetics of PCD, a proteomics approach to detail the structure of cilia, the role of cilia in the embryology of situs laterality, and airway epithelial cell biology. The mini-symposium was chaired by Peadar Noone (University of North Carolina, USA) and Malcolm King (University of Alberta, USA) and included presentations on the use of PCD as a human disease model, accurate definition of the phenotype using clinical and cell biologic markers, and molecular studies. The latter reports ranged from isolation of a protein involved in ciliary structure and function to genetic studies using linkage analysis and the candidate gene approach. Clinicians and scientists alike displayed considerable interest at both sessions, and there were several lively question–answer sessions.