Faculty Spotlight: Dr. Kimberly Cote, PhD

By: Mehar Kaur

Dr. Kimberly Cote’s never ending passion for sleep research led her to becoming a part of Brock’s teaching community in the year 2000. Thereafter, she attained a position as director of the Brock University Sleep Research Laboratory. In her 16 years at Brock University, Dr. Cote has taught three graduate courses and six undergraduate courses. She explains that of these courses, the third year sleep course is her favourite because sleep is what has driven her to become a professor; sleep is her “baby and passion”. She also really enjoyed teaching the Psyc 3P72 Drugs and Behaviour course 6 times because of her interest in arousals and states of consciousness.

Dr. Cote grew up in Sarnia, Ontario, a border town on the state of Michigan with no university nearby, thus, she travelled to Windsor for her first year of undergraduate school. However, due to her passion for studying sleep, she contacted Dr. Robert D. Ogilvie, who advised her to come study at Brock and work in the sleep lab. Dr. Cote completed her last three years of her Bachelor of Science Degree at Brock University and then completed her Masters in Science at the University of Toronto, in a sleep disorders clinic. She received her PHD in experimental psychology from the University of Ottawa, after which her post-doctoral training took place in the sleep laboratory at the Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology in Zurich, Switzerland. Six months later, Dr. Cote was offered a job at Brock University where she took over her mentor, Dr. Robert D. Ogilvie, whom believes having Dr. Cote return to Brock made it easier for him to retire.

Dr. Cote has numerous publications in the area of sleep. Although she has completed many studies regarding sleep, her most favourite studies are specifically on napping. She says this is because her most interesting work if looking at day time sleeping improves waking function. She also speaks to the international media a lot due to peoples’ large interest in aspects related to sleep, such as what time to sleep and how long to sleep. She enjoys these studies the most and also believes the participants have a good time taking part in them. Currently, Dr. Cote is working on two big projects with her students. One study is examining the aspects of sleep relating to memory consolidation and the other study looks at the role of hormones in vulnerability to sleep deprivation and how sex hormones play a role in period cycles and how it could lead to sleep deprivation.

When Dr. Cote is not teaching, she loves to do research and she loves to travel. She has travelled to South America (her most favourite area) including, Argentina, Chile, Columbia, and Switzerland. Her family and friends describe her as focused, dedicated, and giving of her time. Even though she is very giving of her time, classes that commence at 8 a.m. are something she also is not in favour of, just like every other student. Dr. Cote would love to see the student union start advocating for stopping classes from starting at 8 a.m. She believes the attendance and marks are lower in those early-morning classes and is willing to provide the union with research to help promote this movement.

Dr. Cote has completed more than 10 years of post-secondary education. She wishes that when she was in her undergraduate program, she had taken more science courses since she has an interest in medical research. She advises students to never skip class and always do readings because she believes this is the most important way to succeed in school.

When asked how she got through many years of schooling she said, “thinking back to going through ten years of school with three different degree programs, remind yourself to keep moving in a forward direction and know that you will have difficult times but keep moving towards the goals.”

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