England Lab

Sarah England, PhD, Alan A and Edith L Wolff professor of medicine, focuses her research 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?”

Sarah England, PhD, poses for a portrait at the BJC Institute of Health, on January 27, 2023. MATT MILLER/WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE

Her 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.

Dr. England's Lab Team

Dr. England’s Lab Team

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.


Lab meeting

Lab meeting


View a list of Dr. England’s published research on PubMed » 

Congratulations to Team BME (Daniel Khan (not pictured), Rohan Khopkar, and Abhishek Sethi) for winning third place in the Wash U Biomedical Engineering Senior Design Project for developing a Mouse Pregnancy Test. Thanks to Ron McCarthy for being their bench advisor.