A/Prof Nayagam graduated from the University of Tasmania in 2000, with a double major in biochemistry and molecular biology, and first class Honours in cortical neuroscience. Her Honours project was supervised by Professor James Vickers and investigated the way in which primary cortical neurons responded to injury in vitro, with an emphasis on the involvement of the neurofilaments and GAP43 proteins in mounting a regenerative response. In 2003, Dr Nayagam moved into auditory neuroscience and undertook her PhD with Professor Rob Shepherd at the Bionics Institute (formerly Bionic Ear Institute), Melbourne. Her PhD examined the potential of stem cells to provide replacement neurons to the deaf cochlea, for which she received the Dean’s Prize for Excellence (2008). After post-doctoral experience as a Victoria Fellow working at Harvard University (Boston) and Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore) she returned to the University of Melbourne to establish an independent research group in stem cells and regeneration of the auditory nerve.
Dr Nayagam currently holds a teaching and research position at the University of Melbourne where she co-ordinates the Anatomy and Physiology Masters subjects for both Audiology (ANAT90004) and Speech Pathology (ANAT90011), and heads the Auditory Neuroscience Unit. Her laboratories are located within the Bionics Institute (St Vincent's Hospital, East Melbourne) with primary research interests in developing regenerative therapies for hearing loss. Her emerging clinical research interests include mapping the human auditory brainstem using MRI, which she is investigating with collaborators at the Melbourne Brain Institute, Austin Hospital Campus.
Dr Nayagam's laboratory and collaborators use a range of experimental techniques including micro-dissection, cell and tissue culture and transpla