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. nerve cells and a tiny robot

    Tiny, magnetically controlled robots coax nerve cells to grow connections

    Research using microrobots and nerve cells from rats could point to new treatments for people with nerve injuries.

  2. Person in a car getting a nasal swab test
    Health & Medicine

    Treatments that target the coronavirus in the nose might help prevent COVID-19

    Scientists are developing and testing ways to prevent the virus from settling in prime nasal real estate.

  3. patient on life support

    New guidance on brain death could ease debate over when life ends

    Brain death can be a tricky concept. Clarity from an international group of doctors may help identify when the brain has stopped working for good.

  4. Teacher reads to children
    Health & Medicine

    Five big questions about when and how to open schools amid COVID-19

    Researchers weigh in on how to get children back into classrooms in a low-risk way.

  5. Three women running

    Boosting a liver protein may mimic the brain benefits of exercise

    Finding that liver-made proteins influence the brain may advance the quest for an “exercise pill” that can deliver the benefits of physical activity.

  6. brain MRI images
    Health & Medicine

    Strokes and mental state changes hint at how COVID-19 harms the brain

    In a group of people severely ill from the coronavirus, strokes, psychosis, depression and other brain-related changes come as complications.

  7. Mouse smelling cheese

    How to make a mouse smell a smell that doesn’t actually exist

    The ability to create a perception might lead to a deeper understanding of how the brain makes sense of the world.

  8. woman smelling a flower

    The way the coronavirus messes with smell hints at how it affects the brain

    Conflicting reports offer little clarity about whether COVID-19 targets the brain.

  9. Map of the heart's 'brain'

    A new 3-D map illuminates the ‘little brain’ within the heart

    Microscopy and genetic studies yield a comprehensive map of the nerve cells found in the heart of a rat.

  10. Neuroscience

    How coronavirus stress may scramble our brains

    The pandemic has made clear thinking a real struggle. But researchers say knowing how stress affects the brain can help people cope.

  11. man standing at a screen drawing a letter with his fingers

    Blind people can ‘see’ letters traced directly onto their brains

    Arrays of electrodes can trace shapes onto people’s brains, creating bursts of light that people can “see.”

  12. false-color microscope image of embryonic mouse eye

    New hybrid embryos are the most thorough mixing of humans and mice yet

    Human-mice chimeras may usher in a deeper understanding of how cells build bodies.