The Adams Waldorf Lab is part of the Center for Reproductive Sciences and the Center for Innate Immunity and Immune Disease at the University of Washington in Seattle. The mission of our lab is to investigate infections in pregnancy and causes of preterm birth in order to develop new therapeutics and vaccines to protect pregnancies. 


Kristina Adams Waldorf, MD
Dr. Adams Waldorf overseeing lab research

Our studies typically leverage a strong team of clinical and basic science collaborators. Ongoing studies generally fall into five areas:

1.  Understanding how the virus that causes COVID-19 impacts the health of pregnant women and their newborns by investigating their health and immune responses.  We are also comparing these immune responses to those in older adults to determine why older individuals might be so susceptible to COVID-19.  Recruitment information for the COVID-19 in Pregnancy research can be found here

2.    Studying the long-term outcomes of children exposed to infection during pregnancy with a focus on autism and neuropsychiatric disorders.

3.    Understanding how Group B Streptococcus causes preterm birth and stillbirth and testing new vaccines.

4.    Understanding how Zika virus causes fetal brain injury and testing new drugs and vaccines to prevent injury. 

5.    Investigating the effectiveness of new therapeutics to prevent preterm birth.

Subject Recruitment 

COVID-19 in Pregnancy 

Group B Streptococcus as a Cause of Preterm Birth and Severe Infections of the Newborn

  • We are currently recruiting subjects. For more information, please visit our study website.


Kristina Adams Waldorf with Rajagopal Lab
Kristina Adams Waldorf with Rajagopal Lab


We are grateful to current and past donors, who have funded the early work that led to bigger grants and discoveries in key areas like Group B Streptococcus infections in newborns, Zika virus therapies and the link between infection and autism. To support our work in maternal-fetal health, visit: 


Featured Research Articles (led or co-led by Adams Waldorf Lab)

  1. Al-Haddad BJS et al. Long-term risk of neuropsychiatric disease after exposure to infection in utero. JAMA Psychiatry 2019 Mar 6.
  2. Walker CL et al. Femur-sparing pattern of abnormal fetal growth in pregnant women from New York City after maternal Zika virus infection. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2018 Aug;219(2):187 e181-187 e120.
  3. Adams Waldorf KM et al. Congenital Zika virus infection as a silent pathology with loss of neurogenic output in the fetal brain. Nat Med 2018 Mar;24(3):368-374.
  4. Mitchell T et al. Evidence of cardiac involvement in the fetal inflammatory response syndrome: disruption of gene networks programming cardiac development in nonhuman primates. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2018 Apr;218(4):438 e431-438 e416.
  5. Adams Waldorf KM et al. Fetal brain lesions after subcutaneous inoculation of Zika virus in a pregnant nonhuman primate. Nat Med 2016 Nov;22(11):1256-1259.
  6. Adams Waldorf KM et al. Uterine overdistention induces preterm labor mediated by inflammation: observations in pregnant women and nonhuman primates. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2015 Dec;213(6):830 e831-830 e819.
  7. Boldenow E et al. Group B Streptococcus circumvents neutrophils and neutrophil extracellular traps during amniotic cavity invasion and preterm labor. Sci Immunol 2016 Oct;1(4):aah4576.
  8. Vanderhoeven JP et al. Group B streptococcal infection of the choriodecidua induces dysfunction of the cytokeratin network in amniotic epithelium: a pathway to membrane weakening. PLoS Pathog 2014 Mar;10(3):e1003920.
  9. Adams Waldorf KM et al. Choriodecidual group B streptococcal inoculation induces fetal lung injury without intra-amniotic infection and preterm labor in Macaca nemestrina. PLoS One 2011 6(12):e28972.
  10. Adams Waldorf KM et al. Pretreatment with toll-like receptor 4 antagonist inhibits lipopolysaccharide-induced preterm uterine contractility, cytokines, and prostaglandins in rhesus monkeys. Reprod Sci 2008 Feb;15(2):121-127.

Adams Waldorf
Adams Waldorf drawing on screen

Featured Review and Perspective Articles (led or co-led by Adams Waldorf Lab)

  1. Al-haddad BJS et al. The fetal origins of mental illness. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2019 Jun 15; doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2019.06.013
  2. Armistead B et al. Double Life of Group B Streptococcus: Asymptomatic Colonizer and Potent Pathogen. J Mol Biol 2019 Jan 31.
  3. Walker CL et al. Zika virus and the nonmicrocephalic fetus: why we should still worry. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2019 Jan;220(1):45-56.
  4. Adams Waldorf KM et al. The Aftermath of Zika: Need for Long-Term Monitoring of Exposed Children. Trends Microbiol 2018 Sep;26(9):729-732.
  5. Vornhagen J et al. Perinatal Group B Streptococcal Infections: Virulence Factors, Immunity, and Prevention Strategies. Trends Microbiol 2017 Nov;25(11):919-931.
  6. Lannon SM et al. Synergy and interactions among biological pathways leading to preterm premature rupture of membranes. Reprod Sci 2014 Oct;21(10):1215-1227.
  7. Adams Waldorf KM et al. Influence of infection during pregnancy on fetal development. Reproduction 2013 146(5):R151-162.
  8. Adams Waldorf KM et al. Use of nonhuman primate models to investigate mechanisms of infection-associated preterm birth. BJOG 2011 Jan;118(2):136-144.
  9. Adams KM et al. The changing maternal "self" hypothesis: a mechanism for maternal tolerance of the fetus. Placenta 2007 May-Jun;28(5-6):378-382.
  10. Adams KM et al. Microchimerism: an investigative frontier in autoimmunity and transplantation. JAMA 2004 Mar 3;291(9):1127-1131. PMID14996783.


Kristina Adams Waldorf, MD
Kristina Adams Waldorf at work

2021    Q13 News - Health experts urge pregnant women to get vaccinated for COVID-19 right away

2021    UW Science in Medicine Lecture - Infections Targeting Pregnancy: From Molecular Biology to Novel Therapies to Protect the Mother and Fetus

2021    Health Conversations with Anna Smith Podcast - Infectious Diseases and Pregnancy

2021    KOMO News - Pregnant women have 70 percent higher chance of contracting COVID-19, study says

2021    CNN - Pregnant women are at a 70% higher risk for Covid-19 infection, study finds

2021    Q13 Fox Seattle - Study: Pregnant women more likely to die of COVID-19

2021    Healio - Zika 5 years later: Still much to learn as ‘likely’ future outbreak looms

2020    UW Medicine Thanks Tesla for Donation of N95 Masks - Greeting from Kristina Adams Waldorf, MD

2020    KOMO 4 - Tesla donates 50,000 N95 masks to UW Medicine

2020    Seattle Times - 50,000 N95 masks delivered to UW researcher’s home thanks to Elon Musk, Tesla

2019    CNN - Exposure to infection increases risk for autism

2019    Seattle Times - Opinion editorial on measles infections

2019    KING 5 News (NBC)- Autism link to infections in pregnancy

2018    Healio - Experts recommend a longer follow-up period for children with Zika

2018    KIRO 7 News (CBS)- Zika damage may go undetected in pregnancy, UW study finds

2018    FIGO (International Federation of Gynecology & Obstetrics) - Head size no indicator of Zika damage

2018    Medical Xpress - Study shows how fetal infections may cause adult heart disease

2018    The Naked Scientists (podcast) - Zika goes under the radar

2016    STAT News - Congressional funding for Zika is not enough

2016    STAT News - Zika infection causes brain stunting in monkey fetus

2014    GAPPS (Global Alliance to Prevent Prematurity & Stillbirth) - Preventing Preterm Birth Initiative

2013    My Northwest - UW doctor developing at-home test for healthy pregnancies


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