Professor, Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, Medicine
Associate Member, Women’s Health Research Institute

Dr. Côté’s research concentrates on the mitochondrial toxicity of drugs, primarily antiretroviral drugs used in HIV therapy. HIV combination therapy has significantly decreased mortality in the HIV infected population. However, treatment is life-long and as HIV infected individuals survive longer, the toxicity of the drugs and the serious side effects associated can cause of morbidity, non-adherence to prescribed therapy and mortality. HIV drugs can increase mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) depletion/mutation/deletion through pressure on polymerase gamma, the enzyme responsible for mtDNA replication. In addition, some HIV drugs can inhibit telomerase, the enzyme complex elongating telomeric DNA. MtDNA damage and telomere shortening have been associated with diseases and aging.

  1. Antiretroviral mitochondrial toxicity and telomere attrition in infants born to HIV-infected mothers.
  2. Antiretroviral mitochondrial toxicity and telomere attrition in HIV-infected adults and children, as well as during pregnancy.These two projects study the toxicity of the drug in pregnant HIV infected women and their infants, two populations who are particularly vulnerable to drug-related toxicity. The longitudinal effect of HIV therapy on mtDNA quantity and telomere length in mother and child and the potential effect on mtDNA quality in the children are being investigated.
  3. Mitochondrial toxicity in HIV/hepatitis C virus co-infection antiviral therapy. The HIV/HCV coinfected population is also at higher risk of drug-related adverse events as liver damage cause by both viruses and the drugs add up. We are studying the effect of antiviral drugs on the liver mitochondria in patients undergoing HCV therapy, as well as the effect of therapy on drug metabolism by the liver.


Other lab interests:

  1. Mitochondrial toxicity of non-HIV drugs such as statins
  2. Acquired mitochondrial disease-like syndromes
HIV infection, antiretroviral therapy and aging
rug mitochondrial toxicity
Markers of biological aging
Blood Research
Infectious Diseases
  • BSc, Biochemistry, Laval University. 1987
  • PhD, Biochemistry, University of British Columbia. 1993
  • Post-doctoral Fellow, Biochemistry, University of British Columbia. 1994
  • Post-doctoral Fellow, Biochemistry, University of Washington. 1995-1998
  • Research Associate II, British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS. 1998-2004
  • Research Scholar B.C. Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR)/St.Paul’s Hospital Foundation Joint Scholarship. 1999-2003
  • Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar. 2004-2009
  • CIHR New Investigator. 2007-2012