Jobs & CareersJobs & Careers


February 10, 2020

Deputy team leader position
L. Ian Schmitt, Lab. for Distributed Cognitive Processing(W19276)


Laboratory for distributed cognitive processing, Main Group, Center for Brain Science, (Laboratory Head: L. Ian Schmitt)

Research Areas

Engineering, Biology, Medical science, Interdisciplinary


Molecular biology, Cell type, Circuit dissection of cognitive behaviors, Transgenetic mice, Disease model, Viral methods, System neuroscience (familiarity)

Research field

Understanding the basis of cognitive functions like attention and sensory decision-making requires investigation of interactions among complex, interdependent networks of brain circuits. My team studies how these networks are engaged to perform the computations that enable the human ability to flexibly extract meaningful information from a noisy world and use it to guide thought and action. By investigating these processes, we hope to make progress in understanding the basic principles of cognitive function and to translate the insight we obtain into novel treatments to treat complex disorders such as schizophrenia and autism.

Job title and job description

Job title, available positions

Deputy Team Leader: 1 position

Job description

The successful candidate will take the lead in developing and applying/supervising application of molecular biology based techniques needed to assess cell type specific neural circuit properties (e.g. anatomical connectivity, cellular subtype identity etc.) as well as functions (e.g. through techniques used to enable recordings and optogenetic interventions of defined neural populations) in the thalamus and cortex of mice performing behavioral tasks. By applying their skills and knowledge, an effective deputy team leader would be expected to contribute to conducting the following specific tasks: 1) Development and use of approaches to identify genetically and functionally distinct thalamic populations relevant to computations that depend on thalamocortical interactions. 2) Development of new optical sensors for measurement of inhibitory or other modulatory inputs onto thalamic and cortical populations to overcome deficiencies in existing sensors I have used previously. 3) Development of mouse models in which circuit specific modification or KO of disease related genes are made in thalamic or cortical populations. 4) Training of technical staff and researchers based on expert subject knowledge.

In addition to expanding the capabilities of the laboratory, a suitable candidate would gain valuable experience to support their own career progress. More specifically, s/he should demonstrate productivity and expertise needed to obtain an independent group leader position as a leader in the field over the five-year working period.


We seek a highly motivated researcher with an interest in studying cognitive function using rodent models and strong background in molecular neuroscience either approaches using cell type specific viral/transgenic mice or animal disease models. Previous experience in behavioral/optogenetic/chemogenetic methods and/or slice/in vivo electrophysiological recording techniques is also a plus. Applicants should have a Ph.D. in a relevant field (e.g., Neuroscience, Neurobiology, molecular biology). Some proficiency in programming (e.g., MATLAB, Python) is also necessary.

The Deputy Team Leader would be an individual at an intermediate career stage capable of assisting with work being conducted in the lab in a supervisory capacity and of organizing and executing additional, complementary projects. The Deputy Team Leader would be expected to publish (a) high impact paper(s) on topics in line with the major research goals of my team and to collect preliminary results for his/her own projects. The intention would be that this work would allow him/her to obtain a professorship at an internationally well-known institute outside RIKEN within 5 years. The deputy team leader recruited would therefore need to have a strong background ideally including a record of publishing high-impact papers as well as good communication skills in English. Fluency in Japanese is also critical for training stuff members.

Key qualifications include:

  • Ph.D. degree (Life/Natural sciences or engineering preferred)
  • Good communication in English/Japanese
  • Technical skills in molecular neuroscience and an ambition to succeed.

Work location

Branch and address;
RIKEN Wako (2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198) .

Salary and benefits

  1. A one-year fixed-term employment contract, renewable based on evaluation, to a maximum of the end of the fiscal year (March 31) in which the employee completes 7 years of employment.
  2. RIKEN may adjust the above maximum period of renewability based on a) the employee’s abilities, work load at the time of contract completion, performance and work attitude and b) the continuation of the employee’s center, laboratory or project and RIKEN’s management situation and budget at the time. In principle, employment contracts will not be renewed for individuals older than 65 years.
  3. The employee’s period of fixed-term employment cannot exceed 10 years from the initial date of hire (or 10 years from April 1, 2013 for fixed-term employees already at RIKEN prior to this date).
  4. When the Employee's research is scheduled to be reviewed in his/her 5years from the original date of hire at CBS, and when it is concluded that there is reason* to believe it will be difficult for the research (or technology development) to be continued, the employment contract will not be renewed for the next year. (*The reason may relate to the Employee's abilities, performance and/or work attitude.)

In principle, the first two months of employment is considered a trial period.
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).

This position falls under the specialized duties discretionary work system; one working day will be calculated as 7 hours and 30 minutes.

Days off include public holidays, New Year's holidays (Dec. 29 - Jan 3), and RIKEN Foundation Day.
No smoking on site (designated smoking areas available)
These and other provisions are in accordance with RIKEN regulations.
RIKEN is promoting a Gender Equity Program by taking various measures to create a workplace where both men and women are able to give full rein to their talents and abilities. When applicants are judged to be equally qualified on the basis of fair and impartial criteria, women applicants will be given preference.

Also, eligible for an exemption from repayment for category 1 scholarship loans provided by the Japan Student Services Organization before fiscal year 2003, and eligible applying for the MEXT Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (Kakenhi).

Application and required documents

  1. Complete CV WORD(56KB) or EXCEL(159KB) (with photo and email address)
    *Write the RIKEN job ad number “W19276”, indicated in the parentheses next to the job title, in the RIKEN job ad number section in the upper right corner of your CV.
  2. List of achievements
  3. External funding awarded
  4. Summary of research experience to date
  5. Reasons for applying for the post (personalstrengths, motivation, future research plans, careeraspirations, etc.)
  6. A letter of recommendation from the current supervisor (If unavailable, a letter from a substitute reference will be acceptable.)
  7. Consent form for handling personal information based on GDPR
    If you are a resident of the European Economic Area (EEA), you are required to submit the document, “Consent form for handling personal information based on GDPR” with your signature.

    *You will find detailed information about General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on the following website:

How to apply

Send the PDF formatted application by email to lukas.schmitt [at]
(Recommendation letters must be emailed directly from the reference to lukas.schmitt [at], replace [at] with @)


Application documents will not be returned.


Open until the position is filled

Handling Personal Data
Submitted documents are strictly protected under the RIKEN Privacy Policy and will be used only for the purpose of applicant screening. Personal information will not be disclosed, transferred or loaned to a third party under any circumstances without just cause.

Selection process

Application screening
Interview for selected applicants (incl. closed seminar)

Start of employment

April 1st, 2020 (Negotiable)

Contact Information / Send application to

RIKEN Center for Brain Science
Laboratory for Distributed Cognitive Processing
2-1 Hirosawa, Wako, Saitama 351-0198
Email: lukas.schmitt [at] (replace [at] with @)
For inquiries, please send an email.