Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Welcome to the Coffin Lab!

 

We are recruiting a graduate student for Fall 2018, through the Integrated Program in Biomedical Sciences.  Please contact Dr. Coffin to discuss opportunities at allison.coffin [at] wsu.edu.

Welcome to the Coffin Lab!  We study hair cells – not the hair cells on your head, but the hair cells in your inner ears. Hearing is one of our basic senses – it allows us to communicate and to perceive the world around us. At the heart of hearing is the sensory hair cell: a polarized epithelial-type cell that converts acoustic signals in the environment to electrochemical signals in the nervous system. These cells are exquisitely sensitive to sound and unfortunately to damage from a variety of sources including noise and some classes of medications. This damage causes hearing loss, cutting us off from the outside world.  Research in the Coffin Lab seeks to understand the cellular events underlying hearing loss so that we may prevent these events and preserve hearing. We primary study zebrafish, but also use other fishes as model systems for this research. We have recently begun using mice in our drug development efforts.

Our research examines several inter-related questions:

1)   What cellular and molecular events trigger hair cell death following a toxic insult?

2)   How can we develop pharmacological therapies to prevent hair cell death and preserve hearing?

3)   How do environmental toxins influence lateral line development and function?

4)   How do differences in protein structure and function affect hair cell regeneration?

In addition, we are interested in more fisheries-related questions, specifically the way the hatchery rearing environment affects development and function of the lateral line in juvenile salmonids, and how underwater sound affects fish ears.

Check out the videos on the Lab Members page to meet the team and learn about our current work.

 

Funding

Our research is supported by the National Institutes of Health (R15 DC013900, R21 DC015636), the American Hearing Research Foundation, Action on Hearing Loss, and Washington State University.

 

Science Communication – Science Talk 2018!

Have you ever struggled to explain why your science matters to a non-scientist? Have you ever been frustrated at the way science is covered in the media and used in policy? Have you wondered just what they’re teaching about science these days? Join us at our annual conference and find out!

SCIENCE TALK ’18​​ will unite scientists, science communicators, journalists, policymakers, students, and others for two exciting days of learning how to talk science to non-scientists or those outside your discipline. It will feature presentations, workshops, expert panels, and more. Come network with other like-minded individuals and learn new ways to tackle some of the impediments scientists face every day.

Learn more and register on the Science Talk website!