Research Scientist in RIKEN Brain Science Institute
Laboratory for Neural Circuitry of Memory (W461) Contact RIKEN BSI for Careers

October 21, 2016


Research Field

Our laboratory studies how aversive experiences trigger changes in neural circuits resulting in memory formation and adaptive alterations in behavior. The neural processes which transduce aversive experiences into signals that engage brain plasticity resulting in behavioral memories are commonly called teaching signals. We study teaching signals using fear conditioning, a powerful model for studying behavioral memory formation. We take advantage of a multi-disciplinary approach, employing state of the art optogenetic techniques to causally manipulate teaching signal circuits and in-vivo electrophysiological methods to examine the computations performed by neurons in these circuits during behavioral learning. Our goals are to define the circuits that trigger aversive memory formation and elucidate the mechanisms by which aversive experiences trigger neural plasticity in memory storage areas. In addition, we aim to determine the computations performed by neurons in different parts of these circuits and establish how circuit processes give rise to these neural computations during behavioral learning and memory. Using this strategy we ultimately seek to discover general principles of neural circuit function, neural coding and plasticity as they relate to adaptive behavior.

The laboratory is located in the greater Tokyo area at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute. The research environment at RIKEN is collaborative, vibrant and international with over 40 high quality labs working on a variety of fundamental questions in neuroscience. English is the primary language at the institute making it a welcoming place for international or local Japanese postdoctoral fellows. In addition, RIKEN has many programs and financial incentives to aid foreigners in their transition to life in Japan.

Job title and Job description

Research Scientist : a few
Research activities in pursuit of the above research projects.


We seek highly motivated postdoctoral fellows with an interest in learning and memory and/or motivated behavior. Applicants should have a PhD in neuroscience or a related field. Strong training in electrophysiology, behavior and/or molecular biology is desirable.

Work location

RIKEN Brain Science Institute (2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama, Japan) is located in greater Tokyo area, about 30 min from the center of the city by train.

Salary and benefits

One-year fixed-term employment contract, renewable based on evaluation, up to the end of the fiscal year exceeding seven years since the initial date of hire.
RIKEN will decide whether to enter into a new contract on the basis of the employee's abilities, work load, performance, work attitude, continuation of the center, laboratory or project in which the employee is involved at the time of termination of the original contract, and on the basis of RIKEN's situation and budget conditions at the time.
For contracts entered into on or after April 1, 2013, RIKEN will not enter into a new fixed-term employment contract that extends the employee's total years of employment at RIKEN to more than 10 years.

Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. Commuting and housing allowances will be provided. Social insurance will be applied. Mandatory membership in the RIKEN Mutual Benefit Society (RIKEN Kyosaikai).
Day off includes public holidays, New Year's holidays (Dec. 29 - Jan 3), and RIKEN Foundation Day. These and other provisions are in accordance with RIKEN regulations.
Also, employees are eligible for an exemption from repayment for category 1 scholarship loans provided by the Japan Student Services Organization before fiscal year 2003 and eligible to apply for the MEXT Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (Kakenhi) and other outside grants.

Application and required documents

  1. Complete CV including a list of publications
  2. Statement of research interests and reasons for wanting to join the lab
  3. 3 letters of recommendation (including one from the current supervisor, If available) and contact information for the references.

Please send your application by email.

Application will be closed when the positions are filled.

[Handling Personal Data]
All private data sent to RIKEN in application for employment is handled in strict confidentiality, and such data is not utilized for any other purpose or disclosed to any third party. Application documents will not be returned.

Selection process

Selection will be made based on application screening and interviews.

Start of Employment


Send application to

Dr. Joshua Johansen,

Contact Information

Dr. Joshua Johansen,