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Lab celebration

We had multiple reasons to celebrate last week. Congratulations to neuroscience PhD student Coty Jasper for passing his qualifying exam, and happy 21st birthday to neuroscience undergraduate Forrest Fearington! And yes, we are all fully vaccinated.

Picture of lab members out to dinner


Coffin Lab wins big at WSU Research Week

Congratulations to Emily Dale and Olivia Molano for their first and second-place finishes in the undergraduate research grant competition! Emily’s project asks how oxidative stress impacts age-related hearing loss, while Olivia’s project examines the potential for the COVID-19 therapeutic remdesivir to cause hearing damage. Both women were also recently featured on the WSU Vancouver Research social media feeds.







The lab also placed third in the Research Week RA + $10k competition, earning funds for PhD student Rikeem Sholes’s research asking how hatchery noise impacts Chinook salmon sensory systems. Checkout this great story about Rikeem in the fall issue of the Northwest Crimson & Gray.

Click here to learn more about WSU Research Week and view our talks.



Congrats to former lab members – off to medical school

Congratulations to Regina Tsay and Meghal Sheth, who both started medical school at the University of Washington. Regina received her BS in Biology from WSU Vancouver in 2019 and then worked as an emergency department scribe. Meghal Sheth was a high school intern in the lab from 2012-2015. She then received her BS at Washington University in St. Louis and went on to serve in AmeriCorps, working in public health in Chicago. Regina will attend the UW Medical School in Seattle and Meghal will attend school on the Spokane campus.

Lab get-together, hellos, and goodbyes

In May 2021 we got the lab together for a BBQ – we were all fully vaccinated and the delta variant hadn’t yet surged, giving us a great opportunity to celebrate the end of the academic year. It was a pleasure to get together in person with lab members and their families.

People - lab members and their families

We welcomed new(ish) lab members Rikeem Sholes, Olivia Molano, Emily Dale, and Emilee Doppenberg, and said goodbye to former lab members Jordan Hill and Trent Pratt. Jordan moved on to a research technician position at OHSU, while Trent took a position working with clinical lab samples at MolecularMD.

Congratulations Dr. Hudson!

Congratulations to Dr. Alexandria Hudson, who successfully defended her dissertation today. Alex’s work seeks to develop protective therapies to prevent aminoglycoside-induced hearing loss. Dr. Hudson will enter the MS program in Regulatory Affairs at the University of Southern California as she pursues a career in regulatory medical writing. Also thanks to committee members Drs. Michael Morgan, Michael Varnum, and Peter Steyger for providing guidance to Alex throughout her PhD.


So much lab news

With the pandemic, switch to online teaching, and general chaos, I’ve been remiss in posting lab news. We’ve had some major personnel changes in the last few months.

First, thanks to Mary Macpherson, James Foss, and Garrett Reynolds for their respective contributions to the lab in the last year/year+. Mary has moved on to work with Dr. Michael Morgan at WSU Vancouver. James is pursuing business interests, and Garrett is now a student in the WSU PharmD program.

Second, welcome to Rikeem Sholes and Susannah Schloss!

Rikeem is a Fish Biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Starting in January 2021 Rikeem will also join our lab as a PhD student through the School of Biological Sciences. We’re excited for Rikeem to join the lab and contribute his expertise in salmon biology as he also gains new skills and research experience – a great partnership.




Susannah is a post-bac student in the Neuroscience program and the new manager of our zebrafish facility. She plans to pursue a PhD in neurodegenerative disease.

New publication by Alex Hudson

PhD student Alex Hudson and former undergraduate Gavin Lockard (B.S. Neuroscience 2019) recently published their work in Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience. Working with collaborator Dr. Bruce Blough at RTI and Dr. Katie Kindt at NIDCD, the team showed that berbamine analogs robustly protect hair cells from ototoxic damage and that different chemical structures alter the protective efficacy and mechanism of protection.