[Comp-neuro] Positions available, Laboratory for Integrated Theoretical Neuroscience at RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Japan

hnx hnx at brain.riken.jp
Wed Dec 5 00:52:27 CET 2012

Dear colleagues,

Applications are invited for opening positions for postdoctoral
scientists to work at the Laboratory for Integrated Theoretical
Neuroscience (Lab Head: Hiro Nakahara; http://www.itn.brain.riken.jp),
RIKEN Brain Science Institute. The goal of our laboratory is to discover
the computational principles that underlie the way that brain mechanisms
realize intelligent behaviors. We use computational approaches and/or
conduct human fMRI experiments. We work on two areas: decision making
and neural coding ? primary and secondary interest; in particular, the
postdoctoral scientists are expected to work under any of the following
three topics: 

1) Modeling neural computations of value-based decision making and
reward-oriented behavior 
2) Conducting human fMRI experiment to address value-based decision
making, including social setting
3) Analyzing neural data for our interest, and developing methods of
analysis for understanding neural interactions

Applicants should have, or be expecting to receive, a Ph.D., and have
research interest and background in the area of (or related to) research
described below. Please send your application to itninfo at brain.riken.jp
with the following materials: (A) a cover letter specifying the research
topic of your interest, (B) CV including publication list, (C) research
statement describing your past achievements and future interests, (D)
the names and contact information of three references (including the
current supervisor, if available) with a brief description of your
relationship to each reference, and (E) (optional) any additional
information you think might be useful (e.g. additional skills and
background, general interests, and so on). Application review will begin
immediately and continue until the position is filled. Start date is
flexible, but an early starting time is preferred. Informal inquiry
should also be sent to itninfo at brain.riken.jp.

Each research topic is described briefly in the following, together with
experience and skills expected for applicants: 

1)	‘Modeling neural computations.’ We build computational and
mathematical models of neural processes for value-based decision making
and reward-oriented behavior. We are particularly interested in their
adaptive nature (e.g., reinforcement learning). We also seek how such
behaviors are supported by neural processing and representation of the
environment and potential outcomes, and further by representational and
structural learning of those. Circuit-wise, we are interested in how the
basal ganglia circuit, including dopamine neurons, contribute to these
functions, in relation to prefrontal areas and other subcortical areas
(e.g., lateral habenula, amygdala). Applicants are expected to have a
qualified research experience in computational neuroscience in the area
or related area. A strong quantitative background is expected, including
good computer and programming skills (e.g., Matlab). Close collaboration
with experimental studies is emphasized.

2)	‘Conducting human fMRI experiment’. We investigate value-based
decision making, reward-oriented behavior, and social value-based
decision-making and learning. For instance, using model-based analyses,
we are interested in investigating how values associated with different
options is processed in the brain to reach a final decision, and/or how
learning about another person affects one’s own value-based decisions.
The ideal candidate should have a qualified research experience in human
fMRI experiments in the area or related area, but candidates with a
strong record and experience in different research areas, using fMRI,
psychophysics or related technique (e.g., single-unit neurophysiology)
are also considered. Candidates who wish to pursue experimental studies
by linking experimental and computational approaches are encouraged to
apply. Solid quantitative skills are appreciated. Research is conducted
by using RIKEN BSI's 4 Tesla MRI system, in collaboration with Dr. Kang
Cheng (RIKEN BSI, fMRI Support Unit) and other excellent collaborators.

3)	‘Analyzing neural data’ and ‘developing methods of analysis’.
We analyze neural data with our interest described in the topic 1),
wherein the data is often supplied from by our collaborators (e.g. data
of dopamine neural activity from behaving animals’ experiment). In
addition, we are interested in developing methods of analysis for
simultaneously recorded neural data with an emphasis on understanding
consequences of neural interactions, including higher-order interactions.
Expected backgrounds and skills for ideal candidates are similar to
those under theme 1) described above.

For all the topics 1)-3), the successful candidate will be expected to
conduct independent research as well as work closely in a team;
therefore, a good balance of self-reliance and collegiality is required.
Good communication skills are essential (working language is English at
our institute.) 

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 (http://www.brain.riken.jp). Starting salaries will be
commensurate with relevant ability and experience. Commuting and housing
allowances will be provided. Social insurance will be applied.
Subsequent contracts, including salary adjustment, will be determined
and renewed annually, upon review, for up to five years.  

Best wishes,


Hiroyuki Nakahara, Ph.D.
Laboratory for Integrated Theoretical Neuroscience
RIKEN Brain Science Institute

hiroyuki nakahara 

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