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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. microglia and nerve cells

    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.

  4. illustration of blood vessels

    Injecting nanoparticles in the blood curbed brain swelling in mice

    Nanoparticles divert inflammation-causing cells away from the brain after a head injury, a mouse study shows.

  5. peanuts
    Health & Medicine

    The FDA has approved the first drug to treat peanut allergies

    The drug, called Palforzia, may reduce the dangers of unintentional exposure to peanuts for allergic children.

  6. patient receiving chemotherapy

    Psilocybin may help cancer patients with depression and anxiety for years

    A study hints that a hallucinogen found in magic mushrooms could reshape how people cope with hard diagnoses over the long term.

  7. Alzheimer's patients
    Health & Medicine

    How one woman became the exception to her family’s Alzheimer’s history

    A single mutation in a woman who evaded Alzheimer’s may point to new ways to treat the disease.

  8. Cat on grass

    A parasite that makes mice unafraid of cats may quash other fears too

    The parasite Toxoplasma gondii can mess with all sorts of mice behaviors and make the rodents fearless in many situations.

  9. bro riding a scooter
    Health & Medicine

    Electric scooter injuries rose 222 percent in 4 years in the U.S.

    Hospital admissions from accidents related to e-scooters grew from 2014 to 2018.

  10. father and daughter

    In some languages, love and pity get rolled into the same word

    By studying semantic ties among words used to describe feelings in over 2,000 languages, researchers turned up cultural differences.

  11. noir film scene

    Mice watching film noir show the surprising complexity of vision cells

    Only about 10 percent of mice’s vision cells behaved as researchers expected they would, a study finds.

  12. Spravato
    Health & Medicine

    In 2019, a ketamine-based antidepressant raised hopes and concerns

    Ketamine and related molecules might ease severe depression, but the drugs come with baggage.