[Comp-neuro] Positions available at RIKEN Brain Science Institute: computational and fMRI studies

hnx hnx at brain.riken.jp
Tue Jul 3 04:05:27 CEST 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. Our laboratory is interested in
elucidating neural mechanisms of decision making, and value-based
decision making and reward-oriented behavior in particular, together
with fostering computational foundations of neural interactions. We
primarily use computational approaches (e.g., "modeling", "analyzing",
and "developing"; see below) and also conduct human fMRI experiments. We
seek enthusiastic and well-qualified scientists to join in our research
activities, particularly under the following three topics: 

1) Modeling neural computations of value-based decision making and
reward-oriented behavior 

2) Analyzing neural data for our interest, and developing methods of
analysis for understanding neural interactions

3) Human fMRI experiment to address value-based decision making,
including social setting

Please refer to the descriptions below for the details of each topic
(and some more information follows the descriptions). 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.
Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Screening
will be done on a rolling basis, and applications submitted by the mid
of August, 2012 will be treated equally in the first screening. Informal
inquiry should be sent to itninfo at brain.riken.jp.

Please send your application to itninfo at brain.riken.jp with the
following materials: (A) a cover letter specifying the job opportunity
you are interested in, (B) curriculum vitae 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). 

1) Modeling neural computations of value-based decision making and
reward-oriented behavior 

We build computational and mathematical models of neural processes for
value-based decision making and reward-oriented behavior. We are
particularly interested in adaptive or learning nature of the behavior,
e.g., reinforcement learning. We also seek how value-based decisions or
reward-oriented behavior 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 neuron
functions, contribute to these functions, in relation to prefrontal
areas and other subcortical areas (e.g., lateral habenula, amygdala).

2) Analyzing neural data for our interest, and developing methods of
analysis for understanding neural interactions

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), or by
our own in-house fMRI experiments. In addition, or possibly
alternatively, we are interested in developing methods of analysis to
make sense of massively simultaneously recorded neural data with an
emphasis on understanding consequences of neural interactions, including
higher-order interactions. 

In both the topics 1) and 2), applicants are expected to have a
qualified record and research experience in computational neuroscience
in the area described above or related area. A strong quantitative
background in neuroscience, mathematics, computer science, statistics,
machine learning, physics or related area is expected. The successful
candidate should have good general computer skills, and especially good
computer programming skills (e.g., Matlab). Close collaboration with
experimental studies is emphasized; in-house fMRI and psychophysics
experiments, and frequent collaborative research with experimental
laboratories.

3) Human fMRI experiment to address value-based decision making,
including social setting

We conduct human fMRI experiment to investigate value-based decision
making, reward-oriented behavior, and/or related behavior including
social setting, e.g. social value-based decisions. For instance, using
model-based analyses, we are interested in investigating how values
associated with different options is processed in the brain before
making decisions, and/or how an understanding of another person’s
behavior affects one’s own value-based decisions. 

Under the topic 3), the ideal candidate should have a qualified record
and research experience in human fMRI experiments in the research area
described above 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. The successful candidate should have a strong training in
experimental methodology with solid quantitative skills. Research using
fMRI 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.

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, implying a
good attitude toward balancing independence and inter-dependence, is
required. Good communication skills are essential, also being fluent in
spoken and written English (working language is English at RIKEN Brain
Science Institute, while there are also opportunities to take Japanese
classes.)

RIKEN Brain Science Institute is located near Tokyo, Japan
(http://www.brain.riken.jp). Starting salaries will be commensurate with
relevant ability and experience. Subsequent contracts, including salary
adjustment, will be determined and renewed annually, upon review, for up
to five years.  

Best wishes,

Hiro

Hiroyuki Nakahara, Ph.D.
Laboratory for Integrated Theoretical Neuroscience
RIKEN Brain Science Institute
http://www.itn.brain.riken.jp
-- 
hiroyuki nakahara 
http://www.itn.brain.riken.jp




More information about the Comp-neuro mailing list