Sarah K. England, PhD

Education:
 BA, Carleton College (1988) 
PhD, Medical College of Wisconsin (1993)

Postdoctoral Fellowship: Vanderbilt School of Medicine

Societies and Memberships: Society for Reproductive Investigation, Perinatal Research Society, American Physiological Society, Society for General Physiologists

Dr. England accepted the position of professor of OB/GYN at Washington University in St. Louis on July 15, 2011. Prior to that, she was on faculty for 14 years at the University of Iowa in the Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics. Dr. England’s basic science research focuses on the molecular mechanisms underlying uterine function during pregnancy. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association, the March of Dimes and other federal agencies. Dr. England has written many research and review articles and has reviewed for multiple journals in both basic science and clinical fields. Dr. England serves on review committees for multiple funding agencies including the NIH, AHA and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Dr. England was a 2005-06 Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow and worked in the office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton for one year on policies related to maternal child health issues, women’s health and the healthcare workforce. Hear Dr. England talk about her experience in Washington D.C. in this video.

Dr. England’s research focuses on the question: “Can we advance our understanding of the function of ion channels in smooth muscle such that we can target these structures pharmacologically in the treatment of smooth muscle diseases?” The laboratory has been investigating the roles of potassium channels in regulating both vascular and uterine smooth muscle excitability, with an emphasis primarily on the latter. The molecular mechanisms that underlie uterine smooth muscle excitation during pregnancy remain unknown today, and this continues to hamper progress toward effective treatment of uterine dysfunction such as preterm labor. The limited efficacy associated with agents currently in use to arrest premature uterine contractions (tocolytics) have intensified the search for more promising therapeutic targets, and potassium channels are particularly promising because their activity results in the dampening of uterine smooth muscle excitability.  This research is laying the groundwork for exploring whether channels can serve as more effective targets for tocolysis. In studying myometrial channels, the England lab hopes to unravel the mechanisms that are key to the transition from quiescence to contraction in at-term pregnancy, and to forge better links between basic biological channel function and defects in uterine contractility.

Office Phone: 314-286-1798  
E-mail: Englands@wustl.edu