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. 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.

  2. cycling with prosthetic leg
    Tech

    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.

  3. dogs
    Life

    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.

  4. brain cells
    Neuroscience

    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.

  5. Opioid pills
    Humans

    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.

  6. forager bees
    Neuroscience

    Honeybee brain upgrades may help the insects find food

    Changes in honeybee neurons may help the insects decode their fellow foragers’ waggle dances.

  7. brain
    Neuroscience

    What human and mouse brains do and don’t have in common

    A large comparison of human and mouse brain cells highlights key differences that could have implications for research on depression or Alzheimer’s.

  8. brain images
    Life

    Electrodes show a glimpse of memories emerging in a brain

    Nerve cells in an important memory center in the brain sync their firing and create fast ripples of activity seconds before a recollection resurfaces.

  9. nerve cells
    Life

    Alzheimer’s targets brain cells that help people stay awake

    Nerve cells in the brain that are tied to wakefulness are destroyed in people with Alzheimer’s, a finding that may refocus dementia research.

  10. football players
    Humans

    Even without concussions, just one football season may damage players’ brains

    A group of college football players underwent brain scans after a season of play. The results suggest the sport could impact neural signaling.

  11. plants
    Neuroscience

    Plants don’t have feelings and aren’t conscious, a biologist argues

    The rise of the field of “plant neurobiology” has this scientist and his colleagues pushing back.

  12. neurons
    Health & Medicine

    How pieces of live human brain are helping scientists map nerve cells

    Experiments on live nerve cells — donated from patients undergoing brain surgery — may turn up clues about how the human brain works.