Preeclampsia is a hypertensive disorder of pregnancy. It affects the health of both mother and fetus, and increases a woman’s later cardiovascular risk.Normally during pregnancy, the immune system changes and women become more susceptible to infectious agents. Two infectious agents in particular, C. pneumonia and CMV, are thought to trigger early onset preeclampsia and have been linked to the development of cardiovascular disease later in life. However, it is still unclear what role they play in the onset and development of preeclampsia.Dr. Xie is investigating the mechanisms between infection, innate immune response and the development of preeclampsia. In the present work, she studied how pregnant women are affected by these two infectious agents and how immune system responds to the infection, including examination of TLR signaling and immune genetic variations that may increase disease susceptibility. Results from her work will assist to identify novel therapeutic targets for unfavorable pregnancy outcome management and later cardiovascular disease prevention, leading to improved health care for both mother and fetus.