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. This is a new and wide open area of research and important discoveries are waiting to be made. We take advantage of a multi-disciplinary approach, employing state of the art optogenetic techniques to manipulate teaching signal circuits and in-vivo electrophysiological methods to examine the computations performed by neurons in these circuits during behavioral learning. This is a powerful approach in mammals because using these tools we are able to define the causal contribution of specific neural circuits and circuit elements to behavior, neural processing and neuroplasticity.

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.
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. Training in physics or engineering is also suitable if the candidate has a significant interest in experimental neuroscience research. Strong training in electrophysiology, optogenetics, behavior and/or molecular biology is desirable.
We are also recruiting talented graduate students with an interest in studying the neural circuits of learning and memory and/or motivated behavior. Applicants can apply through the eRIKEN Junior Research Associate program for graduate studentsf here which is intended for students attending graduate schools in Japan with an established collaborative agreement with RIKEN. In addition to JNR, other mechanisms are also available to pursue graduate studies in the lab.