from left

Takazumi, Tomoe, Nadine, Minkyu2, Jungsik, Fabien, Minju, Jeffrey, Jun, Hendry, Ahmadreza, Hengameh, Ho Ching, Prasanna, Siqing, Dongqi, Wataru  (10/11/2018)


Dr. Jun Tani

Staff Scientist

Ajaz Bhat

E-mail : ajaz.bhat at

Ajaz holds a doctorate from the Italian Institute of Technology, Italy where he worked on designing of a brain-like memory system for robots to reason over cumulative learning. Following his PhD, he was a senior research associate at the University of East Anglia where he investigated the interaction between language development, visual attention, working memory and LTM that underlie cross-situational word learning in children and machines. Prior to his doctoral studies, he was a research fellow in SNBNCBS, India researching generativity in cognitive networks. Ajaz has also completed a Masters in Computing in Kashmir, the vale he hails from. AI OIST, his main research interests lie around core topics in neurorobotics particularly looking at explainable methods for generalization and integration of cognition and language.


Postdoctoral Scholar

Takazumi Matsumoto

E-mail : takazumi.matsumoto at

I received my BSc and MSc in Computer Science and Applications from the Department of Computer Science, University of Warwick, U.K., in 2009. After I was selected to receive the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship, I completed my PhD studies at the Department of Computing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, in 2015. Following graduation, I worked as a Teaching Fellow and Post-doctoral Fellow in the Cognitive Computing Lab, the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. I joined the Tani Unit in October 2017 as a Post-doctoral Scholar. My research background is primarily in developing data mining and machine learning algorithms for GPUs, and my current research goal involves using artificial neural networks for compliant robot control.

Fabien Benureau

E-mail : fabien.benureau at

Website :

After a Ph.D. in developmental robotics at the Flowers team in Inria Bordeaux, France, with Pierre-Yves Oudeyer, and a postdoc in neuroscience at in the Mnemosyne team at the Neurodegenerative Diseases Institute in Bordeaux with Nicolas Rougier, I am pursuing a postdoc at OIST focused on developmental processes in cognitive architectures. The goal is to better understand what processes are at play in children during their development, and work toward open-ended, lifelong learning in robots. 

Jeffrey Queißer

E-mail : jeffrey.queisser at

I received my master's degree in Computer Science from the University of Bielefeld, Germany, in 2012. For my studies, I worked on control- and power-electronics for compliant actuators and joined the Honda Research Institute Europe GmbH (HRI-EU) for studies on semi-supervised learning and system architectures for the combination of online and offline learning. In 2013, I joined the Research Institute for Cognition and Robotics (CoR-Lab) at the University of Bielefeld and conducted research on the control of soft robots. The topic of my Ph.D. project was: Multi-modal Skill Memories for Online Learning of Interactive Robot Movement Generation. For my experiments on a highly compliant child-like humanoid robot, I visited the Asada Laboratory of the Osaka University, Japan, as a special research student. After passing my doctoral exam in September 2018, I joined the Tani Unit in September 2018 as a post-doctoral scholar and will perform research on: Synthetic Neuro-Robotic Modeling on Coupling of Working Memory, Perception and Action Generation under consideration of Consciousness/Unconsciousness My research interests include cognitive (neuro-) robotic systems, (bio- inspired) machine learning concepts, control of compliant actuators and high- level skill learning.


Technical Staff

Siqing Hou

E-mail : Siqing.hou2 at

I received my B.E. in computer science from University of Science and Technology of China in 2016, then an MSc in computer science from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in 2018. My research interests are machine learning and neuroscience. My past research experiences are about the application of machine learning in structural and functional biology. I joint the Tani Unit in 2018 as a research intern, then became a technician in 2019. My current research goal is to explore the self-learning mechanisms of robot motor control in real-world environments using reinforcement learning, especially with recurrent neural networks.


Ph.D. Student

Dongqi Han

E-mail : dongqi.han at

I got my BSc on physics from USTC(University of Science and Technology of China). I started my PhD from 2016 in OIST, and my research interests are   artificial intelligence and computational neuroscience, including but not limiting to robot control with neural network, auditory processing(such as music) with machine learning and signal processing in spiking neural circuits. Currently I am focusing on reinforcement learning based on the architecture called multiple time-scale recurrent neural network(MTRNN).

Nadine Wirkuttis

E-mail : nadine.wirkuttis at

I joined the Cognitive Neurorobotics Research Unit in January 2018 as a PhD student. My research focusses on the cognitive development in both human as well as artificial agents, with special emphasis on the development of higher cognitive functions resulting from critical learning periods.
Before coming to OIST, I graduated from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany where I received my BSc and MSc in Information Engineering and Management. As an IT consultant, I gaining insights into the private sector before having decided to return to academia in order to do more fundamental work in the field of neurologically inspired AI systems. 

Wataru Ohata

E-mail : wataru.ohata at

I am a PhD student at Cognitive Neurorobotics Unit, joining in September 2018. Before coming to OIST, I obtained my BSc from Nagoya University, Japan. Even though I studied biology during my undergraduate, my interest gradually shifted to theoretical frameworks behind it and I am now fascinated by cognitive neuroscience. 

Prasanna Vijayaraghavan

E-mail : prasanna.vijayaraghavan at

I received my B.Tech in Biotechnology from Anna University, India in 2012 and MS in Applied Cognition and Neuroscience from the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD), USA in 2014. After working as a Research Assistant at the University of Texas South Western (UTSW) Medical Center for two years, I decided to pursue my PhD and joined Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) from September 2017. My research interests include, but not limited to, intrinsic motivation, conscious/unconscious decision making, phenomenology and embodied cognition.

Vsevolod Nikulin

E-mail : vsevolod.nikulin at

I received my BSc in Applied Mathematics and Informatics at St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, Russia and MSc in Computer Science at Doshisha University, Japan.
The areas of my interest include broad topics mainly mathematical origin: attempts to formalize the notion of agency, complexity and computability within cognitive robotics systems from the information theoretical point of view.
In my previous studies, I got experience in information processing algorithms, image processing utilizing deep artificial neural networks and evolutionary computations.
I joined Cognitive Neurorobotics Research Unit in January 2020 as a PhD student.


Visiting Researcher

Jeffrey White

Assistant Professor,
University Twente

E-mail : jeffrey.white at

Website :

University of Missouri (PhD, Philosophy, 2006). Inspired by Ron Sun's Duality of Mind and his founding interest in cognitive social science, my dissertation "Conscience: towards the mechanism of morality" articulated an information processing model of cognitive agency integrating hybrid AI, traditional philosophy and cognitive science. Independently, I work mostly in machine ethics and autonomy, self and social-political system resilience. Currently co-chair, Philosophy of AI, 2018 World Congress of Philosophy, area editor for PhilPapers, reviewer for a number of conferences and journals. Going forward with CNRU, the plan is to work more directly on autonomy and especially fully autonomous artificial agency, extending recent work on "formal consciousness" to "formal autonomy" and building from there.

Shingo Murata

Assistant Professor,
Keio University

E-mail : murata at

Website :

I received the B.E., M.E., and D.E. degrees from Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan, in 2011, 2013, and 2016, respectively. I was a Research Associate with the Department of Modern Mechanical Engineering, Waseda University from 2016 to 2018. Since 2018, I have been an Assistant Professor with the Principle of Informatics Research Division, National Institute of Informatics, and an Assistant Professor with the Department of Informatics, School of Multidisciplinary Science, the Graduate University for Advanced Studies (SOKENDAI). My research interests include neuro-robotics, human-robot interaction, and computational psychiatry.


Rotation Student



Irina Korshok

E-mail : irina.korshok2 at



Torobo-Humanoid (a.k.a. Minkyu2)

Torobo-Humanoid (a.k.a. Minkyu2) is our upper-torso humanoid robot from Tokyo Robotics. The first of its kind, Torobo-Humanoid is strong but tries to actively follow external forces. Also, the RealSense camera is always watching you (not really).



Torobo-Arm is our arm robot from Tokyo Robotics. With its new specially designed gripper, it is very good at object manipulation. Although big and heavy, Torobo-Arm is a sensitive type and doesn't like hot weather.

OP2 and its master Rakuda

OP2 from Robotis is the cutest but also most sensitive robot in our lab. Besides working hard on developing its’ social cognitive abilities, it likes dancing and taking orders form its master device Rakuda.


NAO from Aldebaran, France is the oldest robot member in this unit. It has gone through many exciting experiences, including an imitation game with humans and a ball passing game with another NAO. As NAO is getting older, it is about to retire and give its throne to its successor - OP2.


Dimitri is an open-software & open-hardware robot torso equipped with modular low cost compliant joints designed by Rodrigo Da Silva. Its elastic actuators and hard materials make it a tough robot with flexible joints. Unfortunately, Dimitri is currently sick and needs a passionate caregiver to heal it.




Tomoe Furuya

E-mail : tomoe.furuya at


  • Dr. Ahmadreza Ahmadi, Postdoc, CSIRO Robotics
  • Dr. Jungsik Hwang, Researcher, Mechatronics Lab., Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology
  • Dr. Minju Jung, Postdoc, Brown Univ.
  • Mr. Minkyu Choi, Ph.D program, Purdue Univ.
  • Mr. Jinho Chung  

(continued from the former labs, Cognitive Neuro-robotics Lab in KAIST and Lab for Behavior and Dynamic Cognition in Riken Brain Science Inst.)

  • MS. Hyeokhyen Kwon, Ph.D. Georgia Institute of Technology.
  • Dr. Hiroaki Arie, Assistant Professor, Waseda University
  • Dr. Michael Maniadakis, Researcher, Foundation for Research and Technolohy
  • Dr. Tetsu Okumura, Professor, Shizuoka Institute of Science and Technology
  • Dr. Misako Komatsu, Postdoctoral fellow, Riken Brain Science Inst.
  • Dr. Fady S. Alnajjar, Asst. Professor, Collage of IT, UAEU
  • Dr. Yuuya Sugita, Engineer, MTI Ltd.
  • Dr. Ichiro Igari, Director, MTI Ltd.
  • Dr. Ryota Horie, Adjunct Professor, Shibaura Inst. Of Technology
  • Dr. Chiaki Hirata, Adjunct Professor, Jumonji Univ.
  • Dr. Ryunosuke Nishimoto, unknown
  • Dr. Ranier Paine, Clinical Fellow, NIH
  • Dr. Jun Namikawa, Fellow, Line
  • Dr. Yuuichi Yamashita, Section Chief, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry
  • Dr. Tetsuya Ogata, Professor, Waseda Univ.
  • Dr. Yuzuru Sato, Adjunct Professor, Hokkaido Univ.
  • Dr. Jun Yamamoto, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center