Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today


Trained as a neuroscientist and literary scholar, Laura Otis, Ph.D., studies the ways that literature and science intersect. In her research, she compares scientific and literary writers' descriptions of identity, memory, communication, and thought. Otis earned her BS in Biochemistry at Yale University, her MA in Neuroscience from the University of California at San Francisco, her PhD in Comparative Literature from Cornell University, and her MFA in Fiction from Warren Wilson College. Since 2004 she has been a Professor of English at Emory University, where she teaches interdisciplinary courses on literature, neuroscience, cognitive science, and medicine. Otis is the author of Organic Memory (1994), Membranes (1999), Networking (2001), Müller’s Lab (2007), Rethinking Thought (2016), and Banned Emotions (2019). She has also translated neurobiologist Santiago Ramón y Cajal’s Vacation Stories (2001) into English and has edited Literature and Science in the Nineteenth Century: An Anthology (2002). Otis is the author of six novels, including Clean, about a motel housekeeper who uncovers a human trafficking ring, and Refiner's Fire, about a single mother struggling to survive as a singer in Berlin. In 2000, Otis was awarded a MacArthur fellowship for creativity.

Recent Posts