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. forager bees

    Honeybee brain upgrades may help the insects find food

    Changes in honeybee neurons may help the insects decode their fellow foragers’ waggle dances.

  2. brain

    What human and mouse brains do and don’t have in common

    A large comparison of human and mouse brain cells highlights key differences that could have implications for research on depression or Alzheimer’s.

  3. brain images

    Electrodes show a glimpse of memories emerging in a brain

    Nerve cells in an important memory center in the brain sync their firing and create fast ripples of activity seconds before a recollection resurfaces.

  4. nerve cells

    Alzheimer’s targets brain cells that help people stay awake

    Nerve cells in the brain that are tied to wakefulness are destroyed in people with Alzheimer’s, a finding that may refocus dementia research.

  5. football players

    Even without concussions, just one football season may damage players’ brains

    A group of college football players underwent brain scans after a season of play. The results suggest the sport could impact neural signaling.

  6. plants

    Plants don’t have feelings and aren’t conscious, a biologist argues

    The rise of the field of “plant neurobiology” has this scientist and his colleagues pushing back.

  7. neurons
    Health & Medicine

    How pieces of live human brain are helping scientists map nerve cells

    Experiments on live nerve cells — donated from patients undergoing brain surgery — may turn up clues about how the human brain works.

  8. developing fetus illsutration
    Health & Medicine

    A new study challenges the idea that the placenta has a microbiome

    A large study of more than 500 women finds little evidence of microbes in the placenta, contrary to previous reports on the placental microbiome.

  9. lab mouse
    Health & Medicine

    Manipulating nerve cells makes mice ‘see’ something that’s not there

    Using optogenetics to stimulate about 20 nerve cells causes mice to perceive nonexistent vertical or horizontal lines.

  10. praying mantis
    Health & Medicine

    Tiny glasses help reveal how praying mantises can see in 3-D

    Newfound nerve cells in praying mantises help detect different views that each of the insects’ eyes sees, a mismatch that creates depth perception.

  11. little kid choosing between cake or apple
    Health & Medicine

    Toddlers tend to opt for the last thing in a set, so craft your questions carefully

    Two-year-olds demonstrate a verbal quirk that makes their answers less reliable.

  12. brain scan

    A 100-hour MRI scan captured the most detailed look yet at a whole human brain

    Researchers report ultraprecise imaging of a postmortem human brain.