Based in Corvallis, Oregon, Laura Sanders reports on neuroscience for Science News. She wrote Growth Curve, a blog about the science of raising kids, from 2013 to 2019 and continues to write about child development and parenting from time to time. She earned her Ph.D. in molecular biology from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where she studied the nerve cells that compel a fruit fly to perform a dazzling mating dance. Convinced that she was missing some exciting science somewhere, Laura turned her eye toward writing about brains in all shapes and forms. She holds undergraduate degrees in creative writing and biology from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, where she was a National Merit Scholar. Growth Curve, her 2012 series on consciousness and her 2013 article on the dearth of psychiatric drugs have received awards recognizing editorial excellence.

All Stories by Laura Sanders

  1. black and white image of a sponge's digestive chambers with a neuroid cell highlighted in blue
    Neuroscience

    Brainless sponges contain early echoes of a nervous system

    Simple sponges contain cells that appear to send signals to digestive chambers, a communication system that offer hints about how brains evolved.

  2. woman wearing face mask and hat tending to flowers in garden
    Health & Medicine

    A custom brain implant lifted a woman’s severe depression

    An experimental device interrupts brain activity linked to a woman’s low mood. The technology, she said, has changed her lens on life.

  3. 3-D brain organoids grown in the lab
    Health & Medicine

    How personalized brain organoids could help us demystify disorders

    Personalized clusters of brain cells made from people with Rett syndrome had abnormal activity, showing potential for studying how human brains go awry.

  4. illustration of nerve cells in the hippocampus
    Health & Medicine

    Ripples in rats’ brains tied to memory may also reduce sugar levels

    Brain signals called sharp-wave ripples have an unexpected job: influencing the body’s sugar levels, a study in rats suggests.

  5. A small group of students in a lecture hall, wearing masks, with empty chairs between them. Several are applauding
    Health & Medicine

    What kids lost when COVID-19 upended school

    Researchers are starting to tally how a year and a half of pandemic has left many children struggling academically and emotionally.

  6. Hans Berger, inventor of the electroencephalogram
    Health & Medicine

    How Hans Berger’s quest for telepathy spurred modern brain science

    In the 1920s, psychiatrist Hans Berger invented EEG and discovered brain waves — though not long-range signals.

  7. illustration of nerve cells
    Health & Medicine

    Controlling nerve cells with light opened new ways to study the brain

    A method called optogenetics offers insights into memory, perception and addiction.

  8. black background with lots of brightly colored lines spanning out in all directions
    Neuroscience

    A deep look at a speck of human brain reveals never-before-seen quirks

    Three-dimensional views of 50,000 cells from a woman’s brain yield one of the most detailed maps yet.

  9. man sitting in a chair receives an infusion of aducanumab
    Health & Medicine

    FDA approved a new Alzheimer’s drug despite controversy over whether it works

    A new Alzheimer's treatment slows progression of the disease, the drug’s developers say. But some researchers question its effectiveness.

  10. Therapists working with PTSD patient
    Health & Medicine

    MDMA, the key ingredient in Ecstasy, eases symptoms of severe PTSD

    By the end of the trial, 67 percent of the participants who took MDMA had improved so much that they no longer qualified as having a PTSD diagnosis.

  11. collage of tweets and facebook posts with a big "X" over them
    Science & Society

    A few simple tricks make fake news stories stick in the brain

    Human brains rely on shortcuts to be efficient. But these shortcuts leave us vulnerable to false information.

  12. scan of human brain
    Health & Medicine

    COVID-19 can affect the brain. New clues hint at how

    Anxiety, depression and strokes can occur after infection, leaving experts to determine how the virus affects the brain.