Tomorrow’s Scientists: Coty Jasper

Coty Jasper on a rocky beach.

Coty Jasper, a neuroscience graduate student at the WSU Vancouver campus, is always one for discussing UFO conspiracy theories and if intelligent life exists on other planets.

“I definitely believe there could be intelligent life out there,” Coty said. “But does it visit Earth? I am not entirely certain.”

While Coty still has many unanswered questions about UFOs, he is becoming quite the expert on the plainfin midshipman, a species of fish in the toadfish family. Coty is researching neuroscience in the lab of Dr. Allison Coffin with the goal of determining mechanistically how estrogen influences changes in the fish’s hearing. 

Originally from Toledo, Washington, Coty said he wanted to study neuroscience when he graduated high school, but he found he was drawn to genetics and began to do molecular ecology work in a fisheries lab at Eastern Washington University, where he completed both his undergraduate and master’s degrees. 

“But then I saw that the Coffin lab uses zebrafish to do neuroscience research, so I was interested and sold on the idea of using fish to study neuroscience, specifically auditory neuroscience,” he said.

When not studying or contemplating extraterrestrial life, Coty enjoys going to the gym, hiking, playing chess, and spending time with his family and his 15-year-old cat, Kiki.

After finishing his studies, Coty hopes to work in industry and, much later in life, teach at a regional comprehensive university, like his alma mater, EWU.