Initial Research Project, OIST

Neural Computation Project:

A Computational Approach to
Molecular Mechanisms of the Mind

mail to :

What is OIST?

Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) is an interdisciplinary graduate institute being built in Okinawa, a semitropical island in Japan, with Dr. Sydney Brenner as the founding president. As a precursor of the Institute, four Initial Research Projects were started in March 2004.

Research Outline

The goal of Neural Computation Proect is to understand the neurobiological substrate of human mind by combining top-down computational modeling and bottom-up neurobiological experiments. Recent advances in molecular biology revealed specific genes and molecules responsible for affective and cognitive disorders, such as schizophrenia and depression. However, those disorders are the result of complex interactions between the environment and multiple genes and molecules, most notably the neuromodulatory systems such as dopamine and serotonin.

Understanding such interactions requires computational models including environmental dynamics. For that purpose, we will work on three major subjects:

1) development of novel computational frameworks for system identification of biological networks.
2) neurobiological experiments to study the dynamic functions of neuromodulators in regulating adaptive behaviors.
3) robotic experiments to explore adaptive mechanisms necessary for survival and reproduction in dynamic environments.

By combining theoretical, biological, and engineering approaches, the research shall produce novel software tools for dynamic modeling, highly adaptive robots with emotion-like regulatory functions, and new approaches to therapy and prevention of psychiatric disorders.

Research Proposal [pdf]

Research Groups

Dynamical Systems Group

To develop novel computational framework for modeling dynamic biological networks

Systems Neurobiology Group

To elucidate functions and dynamics of neuromodulatory systems in rodent experiments

Adaptive Systems Group

To explore adaptive mechanisms for survival and reproduction using artificial rodents

Research Positions

Postdoctoral positions are available immediately in the above groups. A Candidates should have solid technical background in mathematics, computation, neurobiology, or engineering and have keen interest in interdisciplinary study of brain functions. Please send 1) CV, 2) list of publications, 3) reprints (or URLs) of up to three major publications, 4) description of research experience and interests, and 5) names and contact information of up to three references to the address below.

Kenji Doya
Neural Computation Laboratory
Initial Research Project, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology
12-75 Suzaki, Gushikawa, Okinawa, 904-2234, Japan
Phone: +81-98-921-3835
Fax: +81-98-921-3836

Review will start immediately and continue until the positions are filled. Apointments will be for one year with possible extensions. Salary is based on the standard of Japan Science and Technology Agency. For more information, please e-mail Kenji Doya at


Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST)
Initial Research Project (Research Funding Program)

Laboratory site: Okinawa Health and Biotechnology Center

Principal Investigators of Initial Research Projects:
Shogo Endo (RIKEN Brain Science Institute)
Kenji Doya (ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories)
Akira Tonomura (Hitachi Advanced Research Laboratory)
Mitsuhiro Yanagida (Graduate School of Biostudies, Kyoto University)