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. measles vaccine
    Health & Medicine

    New details on immune system ‘amnesia’ show how measles causes long-term damage

    Measles wipes the memories of immune cells in the body.

  2. man sleeping
    Neuroscience

    Sleep may trigger rhythmic power washing in the brain

    Strong, rhythmic waves of cerebrospinal fluid wash into the human brain during sleep and may help clean out harmful proteins.

  3. organoid
    Neuroscience

    Lab-grown organoids are more stressed-out than actual brain cells

    Compared with real brain tissue, organoids show big differences.

  4. tadpole
    Health & Medicine

    Algae inside blood vessels could act as oxygen factories

    Two types of light-responsive algae make oxygen inside tadpoles’ blood vessels.

  5. nerve cell illustration
    Neuroscience

    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.

  6. amyloid-beta protein
    Neuroscience

    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.

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

    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.

  8. line representation of brain waves
    Neuroscience

    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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. babies
    Humans

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

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

  12. person painting with paintbrush held in their toes
    Humans

    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.