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McKelvey School of Engineering

Brown School

BME Seminar: Sarah England, PhD

Thursday, April 4 | 10:00 AM

Uncas A. Whitaker Hall, 218
6760 Forest Park Pkwy, St. Louis, MO 63105, USA

Presenting on "Translational Studies on the Oxytocin Receptor; Considerations for a Personalized Medicine Approach".

Sarah England, PhD, Alan A. and Edith L. Wolff Professor of Medicine, Director, Center for Reproductive Health Sciences and Vice Chair of Research at Washington University School of Medicine, will speak on April 4, 2024 at 10:00 am CT in Whitaker 218.

Abstract: Oxytocin is a potent uterotonic agent administered to nearly all birthing people during childbirth in the United States. Inadequate oxytocin response can necessitate Cesarean delivery or lead to uterine atony and postpartum hemorrhage. Thus, it may be clinically useful to identify patients at risk for poor oxytocin response and develop strategies to sensitize the uterus to oxytocin. Our work shows that certain genetic variants in the oxytocin receptor (OXTR) gene impair OXTR trafficking to the cell surface, leading to an attenuated response to oxytocin in uterine smooth muscle cells. We identified that pharmacological chaperones increase oxytocin response in cells expressing WT or variant OXTRs. Screening for small-molecule agonists and antagonists of the oxytocin/vasopressin receptor family identified molecules that restored both OXTR trafficking and oxytocin response in HEK293T cells transfected with OXTR variants and restored OXT response in uterine smooth muscle cells obtained from patients at the time of Cesarean section. Our work demonstrates that pharmacological chaperones or related compounds could potentially be used to enhance clinical response to oxytocin.

Registration to attend virtually is required. Please register.

Event Type



McKelvey School of Engineering


Science & Technology, Medicine & Health



Biomedical Engineering


Event Contact

Mimi Hilburg | mhilburg@wustl.edu

Speaker Information

Sarah England, PhD 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.

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