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. Health & Medicine

    Meet Sophia Upshaw, a volunteer in a coronavirus vaccine trial

    In Seattle and Atlanta, scientists have started testing the safety of a potential vaccine to prevent COVID-19.

  2. Mouse expression illustration
    Neuroscience

    Mice’s facial expressions can reveal a wide range of emotions

    Pleasure, pain, fear and other feelings can be reflected in mice’s faces, sophisticated computational analyses show.

  3. woman sewing masks
    Health & Medicine

    Face mask shortages have sparked creative solutions. Will they work?

    Homemade masks, reusing masks and even scuba gear are some of the ideas for dealing with health care workers’ lack of supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  4. kids washing their hands
    Health & Medicine

    How parents and kids can stay safe and sane during the coronavirus pandemic

    Infectious disease experts weigh in on playdates, playgrounds and other parenting questions.

  5. EEG electrodes on the heads of three different people
    Science & Society

    New electrodes can better capture brain waves of people with natural hair

    Electrodes weren’t designed for people with thick, curly hair. A redesign is needed, says engineer Pulkit Grover.

  6. Health & Medicine

    Immune cells in the gut may play a big role in peanut allergies

    A study finds loads of allergy-inducing cells in the stomachs and intestines of adults allergic to peanuts, but few in people without the condition.

  7. sheep
    Neuroscience

    Brain waves common during sleep also show up in awake sheep

    Sleep spindles, thought to help solidify memories in people, may do similar work during wakefulness if these daytime ripples occur in humans.

  8. Cutting up live human brain tissue
    Neuroscience

    Living brain tissue experiments raise new kinds of ethical questions

    An ethicist describes the quandaries raised by working with tissue involved in human awareness.

  9. Person holding sample of composted cow
    Science & Society

    Turning human bodies into compost works, a small trial suggests

    Experiments test the effectiveness and safety of human composting, which may soon be an alternative to burial or cremation in Washington state.

  10. robot resembling a child's head
    Artificial Intelligence

    Linking sense of touch to facial movement inches robots toward ‘feeling’ pain

    Artificial systems that allow a robot to “feel” pain might ultimately lead to empathy.

  11. Brazil soldiers meet plane of people from Wuhan, China
    Health & Medicine

    Coronavirus’s genetic fingerprints are used to rapidly map its spread

    Fast and widespread scientific data sharing and genetic testing have created a picture of how the new coronavirus spreads.

  12. microglia and nerve cells
    Neuroscience

    Brain cells called microglia eat away mice’s memories

    Immune cells that eliminate connections between nerve cells may be one way that the brain forgets.