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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. sheep

    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.

  4. Cutting up live human brain tissue

    Living brain tissue experiments raise new kinds of ethical questions

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

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.