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


Giedre Milinkeviciute, MSc

Doctoral Student

g.milinkeviciute [at] garvan.org.au

I was born and raised in Lithuania, one of the three Baltic States. Growing up was quite interesting, as I am a part of the generation that lived in both Soviet and independent Lithuania. This experience made me appreciate my country’s newly found freedom and allowed me to enjoy the changes that came with it. My parent’s occupations had nothing to do with life sciences - my mum is an accountant and my dad, after his career in motorcycle racing ended, used to work as a turner in a factory. However, when I think back to my earlier school days in Lithuania, it was my biology teacher who ignited my scientific curiosity and encouraged me to participate in various competitions for young scientists. I suppose she is responsible for my early fascination with science and the choice I made to study Molecular Biology at Vilnius University, Lithuania. I must admit that my mum was a bit worried about my future in the sciences, since at that time Lithuania was still slowly developing after the soviet stagnation and the support and fate of scientists was pretty gloomy...

However, it is undeniable that nature amazed me then and still does to this day. The structure of the body and intracellular mechanisms that work with such precision is fascinating. As graduation from university approached, I was still eager to learn more, so I decided to broaden my knowledge and gain different life experiences outside of Lithuania. I got accepted to a Master’s Program in Biomedical Sciences at Kingston University, London. The move to England was a challenge. I was not only trying to adjust to a new country, but I was also juggling my studies with full-time work. In the end the experience greatly improved my English, made me come out of my shell, become more organized and, of course, it led me to meet my Australian husband which was the reason for my next move to Sydney, Australia.

Starting a PhD was always at the back of my mind but I was new to the country, with no experience and unaware how things worked here. The entire process seemed so complicated at the time. Instead, I found my first job in Sydney working as laboratory technician in a research and development company. From there I moved on to a position as a Research Assistant at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research, which I was able to use as a platform to apply to a PhD program through the University of New South Wales Australia. Having always had thoughts of beginning a PhD, I was ecstatic when I was accepted to the program. Finally I was able to start my first independent research project!

Being part of an amazing team and having David as my mentor has exceeded all my expectations. Of course, it was a steep learning curve for me as I began work in the Ryugo Lab, since my knowledge about hearing did not go much beyond the inner ear... I had to learn electrophysiology, immunohistochemistry, and light and electron microscopy. I use these techniques to investigate anatomical connections between the dorsal cochlear nucleus (DCN) and the inferior colliculus (IC) to examine if the complex circuits connecting them might enable signal extraction from noise.

Despite the busy PhD schedule, I always try to find some time to read and enjoy the great Australian outdoors. I love camping, rock climbing and going for long bushwalks. I suppose it helps to keep me sane ☺