Ryugo Lab - Auditory Anatomy & Physiology
Garvan Insititute of Medical Research
Lab Members
David K. Ryugo, PhD
Tan Pongstaporn, BS
Electron Microscopist
Michael Muniak, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
Catherine Connelly, BS
Doctoral Student
Kirupa Suthakar, BSc
Doctoral Student
Femi Ayeni, MBBS, MSc
Doctoral Student
Giedre Milinkeviciute, MSc
Doctoral Student
Sam Kirkpatrick, BEng
Masters Student
Annie Cho, BSc
Research Assistant

Lab Alumni


Level 9 Lab 2
384 Victoria St
Darlinghurst, NSW 2010
ph: +61 2 9295 8288
fx: +61 2 9295 8281


Femi Ayeni, MBBS, MSc

Doctoral Student

f.ayeni [at] garvan.org.au

Growing up in a country like Nigeria has always posed great challenges to me, albeit in a good way. The fact that I was brought up in an unfettered environment has made me resilient, strong willed, dogged and undaunted. I belong to the Ekiti clan (Oye Ekiti) of the Yoruba tribe of southwestern Nigeria. I was born in Akure, capital of Ondo state in southwest Nigeria and began my primary education in 1987 at L.A School 1 Akure. Thereafter, I proceeded to Oyemekun Grammar School, Akure in 1992 for my secondary education. I graduated in 1998 with distinctions in the Secondary School Certificate Examination and also emerged as the best graduating student in my school. I have always been interested in scholastic activities and was privileged to represent Ondo State, in 1997, at the annual national Junior Engineers Technicians and Scientists quiz competition (JETS) in Maiduguri, Borno State, Nigeria.

After my secondary school education, I was admitted to study Medicine and Surgery in 2000 at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria's premier university. I graduated from medical school in 2007 with some academic awards. These include: Prof Benjamin Oluwakayode Osuntokun Prize in Medicine and the first position in the biennial Prof O. O. Akinkugbe Intercollegiate medical quiz competition (2007), among others. After graduation, I vacillated on my choice of career path. I found a career in biomedical research fascinating and I had always longed to be involved in biomedical research rather than the traditional medical practice. In fact, I would have opted for an equivalent of MD/PhD program from the outset, but for the non-availability of such programs in my country.

After few years of practice as HIV clinician in Benue State, Nigeria, I decided to advance my career. I moved to Sweden in 2010 for my postgraduate studies and obtained an MSc (Medical Science) at Uppsala University in 2012. In the middle of my masters program, I enrolled into Uppsala Graduate School of Biomedical Research program for which I undertook my research project and thesis at Karolinska Institute Alzheimers' Disease Research Center, Stockholm. I obtained an additional diploma (with distinction) in biomedical research.

I have always been interested in brain structures, mechanisms and functions. My study in Sweden was the first step towards my passion and a chance discovery of a PhD opportunity in Prof. David Ryugo's lab -- whose research interests (core neuroscience) met most of my desires -- was a dream come true. I am currently on a University of New South Wales PhD Scholarship, studying brain plasticity by using hearing model systems to evaluate the effects of sensory deprivation and sensory stimulation on brain structures and functions.

My extra-curricular activities involve listening to music, traveling and visiting places.