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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. microscopic image of several xenobots
    Health & Medicine

    Frog skin cells turned themselves into living machines

    The “xenobots” can swim, navigate tubes, move particles into piles and even heal themselves after injury, a new study reports.

  8. a sleeping octopus
    Animals

    Octopus sleep includes a frenzied, colorful, ‘active’ stage

    Four wild cephalopods snoozing in a lab had long stretches of quiet napping followed by brief bursts of REM-like sleep.

  9. medical staff transporting a patient at a hospital in Rome
    Health & Medicine

    Some COVID-19 survivors face another foe: PTSD

    The rate of post-traumatic stress disorder among survivors of severe COVID-19 is comparable to the rate among survivors of some natural disasters.

  10. illustration of a science fiction nanobot brain mesh interface
    Neuroscience

    Three visions of the future, inspired by neuroscience’s past and present

    Three fantastical tales of where neuroscience might take us are based on the progress made by brain researchers in the last 100 years.

  11. illustration of scientists observing thought bubbles from a brain
    Science & Society

    Can privacy coexist with technology that reads and changes brain activity?

    An onslaught of new technology aims to listen to — and maybe even change — your brain activity. Readers, scientists and ethicists grapple with the ethical implications of new ways to get inside the skull.

  12. embroidery of pyramidal neurons
    Neuroscience

    Famous brain sketches come to life again as embroideries

    A needlework project pays tribute to the iconic drawings of Spanish neuroscientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal.