from left

Vsevolod, Jorge, Alexander, Tomoe, Takazumi, Nadine, Jun, Dongqi, Hiroki, Wataru, Prasanna, Fabien (on the monitor), Jeffrey, Federico  (11/11/2021)


Dr. Jun Tani

Staff Scientist

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 have worked in the Tani Unit since October 2017 as a Post-doctoral Scholar, and as a Staff Scientist since April 2021. My background is in data mining and machine learning algorithms for GPUs, and my current research focus is in developing recurrent neural networks for real time robot control in dynamic environments.

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.


Postdoctoral Scholar

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. 

Jorge Gallego Perez

E-mail : Jorge.GallegoPerez at

I am currently developing Multi-Agent System workflows based on LLMs and Vision Language Models, utilizing the LangGraph framework. My main task consists in the design and implementation of a child-tutoring robotic system, able to react, be proactive and improvise in real time, by leveraging the abovementioned models. This work involves the (PEFT) fine-tuning of various pre-trained models when the use of prompt-engineering techniques alone does not suffice to meet our requirements.
Other research interests include Generative AI paradigms such as (beta-) Variational Autoencoders, Transformers in general, and Diffusion Models.
Previously, I have also worked with Variational Recurrent Neural Networks to find insights into human awareness and intentionality.
My previous background before joining OIST in 2021 as a postdoctoral researcher has consisted in an overlap of disciplines such as Human-Robot Interaction (HRI), AI, Cognitive Science and Psychology. I obtained my PhD degree at the University of Twente, The Netherlands, in 2016; and from 2018 to 2020 I worked as postdoctoral researcher at ATR, Kyoto.

Sergio Verduzco Flores

E-mail : sergio.verduzco at

I got a bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering from the National Autonomous University of Mexico. At some point during my bachelor's I found that studying the brain was more interesting than what I was doing, which eventually led me to Pittsburgh. I did a Math PhD at the University of Pittsburgh, and took courses in the Neural Basis of Cognition at Carnegie Mellon. For the next 10 years I did research on various areas of Computational Neuroscience. My intuition is that understanding the brain will involve grounding cognition in motor control. Moreover, building autonomous agents will be the most valuable source of insights in this effort. 

Henrique Carlos Oyama

E-mail : henrique.oyama at
I received my Ph.D. degree in Chemical Engineering from the Dept. of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at Wayne State University (Detroit, MI, USA), where I served as a teaching and graduate research assistant (2018-2023). My core research area has been in cyber-physical systems using process system engineering framework (Google Scholar: In the realm of cyber-physical systems, I am moving towards exploring the interactions between nonlinear dynamic systems, robotics, and neuroscience in the Cognitive Neurorobotics Research Unit at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (2023 - present) as a postdoctoral scholar under the guidance of Dr. Jun Tani.  


Research Unit Technician

Federico Sangati

E-mail : federico.sangati at

I have a BA in Computer Science from the University of Padova (Italy). I received a M.Sc. in Logic, Language and Computation from the ILLC institute of the University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) where I also obtained a Ph.D. with a dissertation on Natural Language Processing (Syntactic Parsing). Afterwards I worked as a Postdoc at Edinburgh University (Scotland), at Fondazione Bruno Kessler (Trento, Italy), and at the University of Naples “L’Orientale” (Italy). My work so far has mainly focused on corpus analysis, crowdsourcing linguistic resources, parsing, multi-word expressions, and natural language understanding. I am also interested in applying NLP technologies for didactic and social purposes. Since 2015 I have been exploring the field of conversational AI and developed a number of ChatBots. In 2021 I've joined CNRU as a Research Unit Technician. My role is providing technical assistance to units members, while learning new skills in the process, in particular Cognitive Robotics and Machine Learning.


Ph.D. Student

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.

Hiroki Sawada

E-mail : hiroki.sawada1 at

I received a BSc in applied physics from Keio University, Japan. During my bachelor's, I did a project on thermo-electricity from February 2019 to July 2019 in Kamihara lab at Keio University, and also on superconductivity as a research internship student from July 2019 to January 2020 at Quantum Materials Science Unit (Okada Unit), OIST. During the rotation program in my first year at OIST, I decided to switch my field from applied physics and to take a Ph.D. to neuro-robotics. I joined CNRU in September 2021, and currently doing a project on a humanoid robot, Torobo.

Alexander Baranski

E-mail : alexander.baranski at

I received a BSc in Mathematics from the University of Chicago in 2017, while also studying computer science and computational neuroscience. Afterwards I worked at a startup developing networked drone comm systems for year, before working at the Angelo Lab at Stanford University writing data analysis tools as a computational tech for three years. I started as a PhD student at the CNRU in January 2022.
I’m interested in autonomy and the mechanisms of open-ended behavioral development. My research is focused on creating working memory systems that support the evolution of graph-like neural programs and data-structures for fast and flexible cognition.

Theodore Jerome Tinker

E-mail : theodore.tinker at

I received a Bachelor's of Science in mathematics from University of California Santa Barbara, then a Master's degree in Applied Data Science from Syracuse University. I am passionate about the relationship between machine learning and the philosophy of consciousness. I also love long distance running, cats, classic video games, cats, and cats!

David Pere Tomas Cuesta

E-mail : david.tomas at

I joined OIST in 2022, after finishing a Computational Neuroscience MSc in the Canadian Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, and a BSc in Biomedical Engineering from University Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. My research focuses on discovering the laws that govern learning and cognition, both in biological and artificial beings. Currently, I’m exploring Variational Inference and Generative Models as primitives of complex behavior in agents. Outside the lab, I enjoy playing piano, hiking and doing scuba.

Rui Fukushima

E-mail : rui.fukushima at

I received a Bachelor's in mechanical engineering from Hosei University, Japan. After graduation, I worked as a technical staff at the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST), studying robot navigation and reinforcement learning with long-term memory. This experience led me to a strong interest in the general principles of the brain behind it and cognitive neuro-robotics research.


Rotation Student


Research Intern


Laurene Liliane Josette Carminatti

E-mail : laurene.carminatti at


Pulkit Goyal

E-mail : pulkit.goyal at

Visiting Researcher

Jeffrey White

Assistant Professor,
University Twente

E-mail : jeffreywhitephd 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.



Torobo-Humanoid (a.k.a. Minkyu2)
Torobo-Humanoid (a.k.a. Reza2)

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.


The NAO6 robot is a humanoid robot designed for research and education. It stands at 58 cm tall and weighs 5.2 kg. It comes equipped with advanced sensors and actuators, including cameras, microphones, touch sensors, and motors, which enable it to perceive and interact with its environment. The robot is powered by sophisticated software that allows for natural and intuitive interaction with humans, making it an ideal platform for studying human-robot interaction, artificial intelligence, and robotics programming.


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. Nadine Wirkuttis
  • Dr. Dongqi Han, Microsoft Research
  • Dr. Shingo Murata, Lecturer, Keio University
  • Dr. Ajaz Bhat, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Science, Universiti Brunei Darussalam
  • Mr. Siqing Hou, ByteDance Ltd.
  • Dr. Hendry Ferreira Chame, Associate Professor, Université de Lorraine (IDMC)
  • Dr. Ahmadreza Ahmadi, Dr. Eng. Senior Machine Learning Engineer at Geobotica, Australia
  • 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.)

  • Dr. 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, Specially Appointed Associate Professor, Institute of Innovative Research, Tokyo Institute of Technology
  • 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, Professor, Shibaura Inst. Of Technology
  • Dr. Chiaki Hirata, Professor, Jumonji University
  • Dr. Ryunosuke Nishimoto, unknown
  • Dr. Ranier Paine, Clinical Fellow, NIH
  • Dr. Jun Namikawa, Executive Engineer Fellow, Line
  • Dr. Yuuichi Yamashita, Section Chief, National Center of Neurology and Psychiatry
  • Dr. Tetsuya Ogata, Professor, Waseda University
  • Dr. Yuzuru Sato, Adjunct Professor, Hokkaido University
  • Dr. Jun Yamamoto, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Psychiatry, The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center