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. nerve cell illustration

    Light from outside the brain can turn on nerve cells in monkey brains

    An extra-sensitive light-responsive molecule allowed nerve cells to be switched on or off with dim light.

  2. amyloid-beta protein

    Alzheimer’s may scramble metabolism’s connection to sleep

    Mice designed to have brain changes that mimic Alzheimer’s disease have altered reactions to blood sugar changes.

  3. Cerebral organoids made of human cells (left) or chimpanzee cells (right)

    Organoids offer clues to how brains are made in humans and chimpanzees

    Three-dimensional clumps of brain cells offer clues about how brains get made in humans and chimpanzees.

  4. line representation of brain waves

    Dueling brain waves during sleep may decide whether rats remember or forget

    In a slumbering rat, two distinct kinds of brain waves have opposite jobs.

  5. Seth Shipman
    Health & Medicine

    Seth Shipman recorded a movie in DNA — and that’s just the beginning

    Seth Shipman is developing tools that may reveal hidden biological processes.

  6. mice brains

    Mice fidget. Those motions have big effects on their brains

    Unnecessary motion has a profound and widespread effect on nerve cell behavior in mice.

  7. babies

    Babies born by C-section have more potentially infectious bacteria in their guts

    Microbial mixes in babies’ guts differ depending on birth method.

  8. person painting with paintbrush held in their toes

    Artists who paint with their feet have ‘toe maps’ in their brains

    Brain specialization comes with toe specialization in people who use their feet for painting, eating and writing.

  9. cycling with prosthetic leg

    A new prosthetic leg that senses touch reduces phantom pain

    A prosthetic leg that can sense foot pressure and knee angle helped two men walk faster and reduced phantom leg pain.

  10. dogs

    Human meddling has manipulated the shapes of different dog breeds’ brains

    By analyzing the shape of different dog breeds’ brains, researchers show how humans have manipulated the animals’ brain anatomy.

  11. brain cells

    Clumps of cells in the lab spontaneously formed brain waves

    Nerve cells fired coordinated signals in brain organoids, 3-D clusters of cells that mimic some aspects of early brain development.

  12. Opioid pills

    A historic opioid trial highlights what we know about the deadly drugs

    An Oklahoma judge finds that Johnson & Johnson must pay $572 million to the state for the company’s role in the epidemic.