Sarah K. England, PhD

Sarah K. England, PhD

Vice Chair, Research
Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Professor of Medicine, Ob/Gyn
Director, Center for Reproductive Health Sciences

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  • Postdoctoral Fellowship: Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
  • PhD: Medical College of Wisconsin
  • BA: Carleton College

Research Area

Placenta, Premature Birth


Center for Reproductive Health Sciences

Research Interests

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 towards 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.


See publications list in PubMed »

Societies and memberships

  • Society for Gyncologic Investigation
  • Perinatal Research Society
  • American Physiology Society
  • Society for General Physiologists

About Dr. England

Dr. England joined Washington University School of Medicine as professor of ob/gyn in July 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 authored many research and review articles and has reviewed for multiple journals in both basic science and clinical fields. Dr. England serves in review committees for multiple funding agencies including the NIH, AHA, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. She was a 2005-06 Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow and worked in the office of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton for one year working on policies related to maternal child health issues, women’s health, and the healthcare workforce.