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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.”

  6. 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.

  7. Testing in Corvallis, Oregon
    Health & Medicine

    Door-to-door tests help track COVID-19’s spread in one Oregon town

    Surveying neighborhoods directly may give a more accurate view than mail-in tests and other methods, researchers say.

  8. Simon game

    A game based on Simon shows how people mentally rehearse new information

    Signs of learning echo through people’s resting brains.

  9. brain

    ‘The Idea of the Brain’ explores the evolution of neuroscience

    Despite advances, much about the human brain is still a mystery, a new book shows

  10. 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.

  11. Mouse expression illustration

    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.

  12. 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.