Laura Sanders

Laura Sanders

Senior Writer, Neuroscience

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. Glia cell in mouse spleen

    Glial cells may take on big jobs in unexpected parts of the body

    Scientists are finding mysterious glia in the heart, spleen and lungs and wonder what they’re doing there.

  2. woman smelling a candle
    Health & Medicine

    Missing COVID-19 data leave us in the dark about the current surge

    Yankee Candle reviews and wastewater testing offer indirect hints, but we’re “flying blind,” says data expert Beth Blauer of Johns Hopkins University.

  3. Two musk oxen stand in the snow, about to butt heads.

    Headbutts hurt the brain, even for a musk ox

    Though musk oxen are built to bash, a study of the headbutters turned up signs of brain damage. But that may not be catastrophic for the bovids.

  4. microscope image showing brain cells with dopamine in green and active AGTR1 gene in magenta

    A very specific kind of brain cell dies off in people with Parkinson’s

    Of out 10 kinds of dopamine-making nerve cells, only one type is extra vulnerable in Parkinson’s disease.

  5. a mom looking at her daughter, who is looking annoyed while holding a phone

    Mom’s voice holds a special place in kids’ brains. That changes for teens

    Unfamiliar voices hold special appeal for teens, a sign of a shift from a focus on mostly family to wider networks, brain scans suggest.

  6. aerial photo of a grid of streets in Chicago

    Where you grew up may shape your navigational skills

    People raised in cities with simple, gridlike layouts were worse at navigating in a video game designed for studying the brain.

  7. images of the brain from different angles
    Health & Medicine

    What do we mean by ‘COVID-19 changes your brain’?

    The events of our lives are reflected in the size, shape and behavior of our constantly changing brains. The effects of COVID-19 changes aren’t clear.

  8. Anatomist Santiago Ramón y Cajal

    How a scientist-artist transformed our view of the brain

    The book ‘The Brain in Search of Itself’ chronicles the life of Santiago Ramón y Cajal, who discovered that the brain is made up of discrete cells.

  9. photo of a sleeping mouse in a field

    A hit of dopamine sends mice into dreamland

    New results are some of the first to show a trigger for the mysterious shifts between REM and non-REM sleep in mice.

  10. illustration of a brain inside a head silhouette
    Health & Medicine

    A faulty immune response may be behind lingering brain trouble after COVID-19

    The immune system’s response to even mild cases of COVID-19 can affect the brain, preliminary studies suggest.

  11. photo of a free covid testing sign and people standing in line to be tested
    Health & Medicine

    Omicron forces us to rethink COVID-19 testing and treatments

    At-home rapid tests may miss the speedy variant early on, and some treatments, such as some monoclonal antibodies, no longer work.

  12. an illustration of a COVID-19 mRNA vaccine
    Health & Medicine

    These are the viruses that mRNA vaccines may take on next

    Now that mRNA vaccines have proved effective against the coronavirus, scientists are taking aim at influenza, HIV and other viruses.