Waters, Professor Sarah


Sarah Waters

Fellow and Tutor in Applied Mathematics
Professor of Applied Mathematics, Mathematical Institute

Email: sarah.waters@maths.ox.ac.uk

Academic background

Sarah Louise Waters is a professor of applied mathematics in the Mathematical Institute, a Fellow of St Anne’s, and a Leverhulme Trust Senior Research Fellow of the Royal Society.

She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Leeds in 1996. Her dissertation, Coronary artery haemodynamics: pulsatile flow in a tube of time-dependent curvature, was supervised by Tim Pedley. She was named a professor at Oxford in 2014.

In 2012 she won a Whitehead Prize “for her contributions to the fields of physiological fluid mechanics and the biomechanics of artificially engineered tissues”.

In 2019, Waters was elected a fellow of the American Physical Society.


Options in physical applied mathematics, including Fourier Series and PDEs, Applications, Multivariable Calculus, Differential Equations 1 and 2, Waves and Fluids and Calculus of Variations.


Her research interests are in physiological fluid mechanics, tissue biomechanics and the application of mathematics to problems in medicine and biology. Her work varies from classical applied mathematics problems motivated by physiological applications to highly interdisciplinary work. She collaborates with life scientists, clinicians, bioengineers, theoreticians and experimentalists to develop and solve models that are novel, realistic and provide insights into biomedical problems. The resulting models often lead to theoretical predictions that can be exploited in the laboratory.

Selected publications

Moulton, D.E., Sulzer, V., Apodaca, G., Byrne, H.M. & Waters, S.L. Mathematical modelling of stretch-induced membrane traffic in bladder umbrella cells J Theor. Biol. 2016; 409:115-132. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtbi.2016.08.032

Woolley, T.E., Gaffney, E.A., Oliver, J.M., Waters, S.L, Baker, R.E. and Goriely, A. Global contraction or local growth, bleb shape depends on more than just cell structure J. Theor. Biol. 2015; 380:83-97. doi:10.1016/j.jtbi.2015.04.023.

Goriely, A., Geers, M.G.D., Holzapefel, G.A., Jayamohan, J., Jerusalem, A., Sivaloganathan, S., Squier, W., van Dommelen, J.A.W., Waters, S.L. and Kuhl, E. Mechanics of the brain: perspectives, challenges and opportunites Biomech. Mod. Mecanobiol. 2015. doi:10.1007/s10237-015-0662-4.