Group Leader / Staff Scientist

Ludovic Jaubert - Postdoc OIST (2012), Group Leader OIST (2013-2016)

Before discovering Okinawa in 2012, I spent most of my life in Europe (and a bit in Brazil), studied at the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Lyon, and worked at the Max Planck Institute of Dresden and the University of Oxford. I spent more than 4 years in Okinawa, where, outside of work, I enjoyed discovering Japan and Asia and ... did not quite manage to learn Japanese :) In 2017, I moved to Bordeaux in France, where I am pursuing my research at CNRS.

Judit Romhanyi - Postdoc (2016), Staff Scientist (2017-2019)

After finishing my PhD in Budapest in the group of Karlo Penc, I moved to Germany. I was a post-doc first at the Leibniz Institute in the group of Jeroen van den Brink in Dresden, then in the Max Planck Institute in Stuttgart with Hidenori Takagi. My research includes novel quantum phases, exotic excitations and topological properties of magnetic insulators, orbital physics and multiferroic materials. When time permits, I enjoy the wonderful environment and excellent food in Okinawa and try to get familiar with Japanese culture and language.
Judit is now an Assistant Professor at UC-Irvine.

Postdoctoral Scholars

Yutaka Akagi - Postdoc OIST (2014-2015)

After completing my PhD with Prof. Yukitoshi Motome in the University of Tokyo, I joined the TQM Unit at OIST in April 2014, and had enjoyed working with Nic for one year and seven months. I am now working at the University of Tokyo in Katsura group as an assistant professor. I used to have many other hobbies, such as swimming, skiing, snowboarding, playing football, basketball, and the drums, etc. But now, my last surviving hobbies are drinking with my friends, reading comics, and watching animations.
Yutaka is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Tokyo.

Karim Essafi - Postdoc OIST (2013-2017)

I completed my PhD with Dominique Mouhanna at the University Pierre and Marie Curie in 2012. In November 2013, I joined the TQM Unit at OIST. I am interested in phase transitions and critical phenomena. During my PhD, I specialised in the study of critical phenomena using the nonperturbative renormalization group (NPRG). I am now a postdoc at Sorbonne university in Paris, France. Outside of work, I enjoy playing football, climbing, diving and surfing.
Karim is now working for Qunasys, following a postdoc at PSI.

Olga Sikora- Researcher OIST (2011-2012), Research Associate Bristol (2009-2011)

Olga joined TQM group while it was still located in Bristol, following a postdoc at MPI-PKS Dresden.  She then moved on to Taiwan National University, where she worked with Ying-Jer Kao and the Marian Smoluchowski Institute of Physics at the Jagiellonian University, Krakow in Poland. 
Olga is now working at the Henryk Niewodniczani Institute.

Mathieu Taillefumier - Postdoc OIST (2014-2017)

After completing my PhD in the Louis Neel institute in Grenoble with Claudine Lacroix and the Max Planck Institute in Halle with Patrick Bruno, I moved to Norway where I first integrated the group of Arne Brataas working on cold atoms physics and spintronic then to Oslo in the group of Susanne Viefers. After that I moved to Frankfurt am main in the group of Peter Kopietz before joining the Shannon group at OIST.  My passions include, meeting friends, practicing sport (cycling, hiking, etc), learning about mathematics, informatics and science in general, dancing, billiard and many others activities I have too little time to do....
Mathieu is now working at the Swiss National Supercomputing Center.

Hiroaki Ueda - Postdoc OIST (2013-2015)

After 10 years studying at Kyoto University, I spent 3 years working as a postdoc in the Kanto region before moving to OIST in April 2013.  I spent two years working in the TQM Unit enjoying working on quantum magnets and mathematical physics.  I could not only concentrate on the research, but also improve mathematical skills and English thanks to the ardent (passionate?) group members. Since April 1st 2015, I have been a Lecturer at Toyama Prefectural University, where it snows a lot more than in Okinawa! In addition to maths and physics, I like Esperanto and console games.

JSPS Fellow

Yurika Kubo  (Apr 2017-Jul 2018)

I got my master degree at Waseda University, and will defend my PhD there. I am now working as a JSPS Fellow in OIST. My current research interests are in thermal and spin transport in frustrated magnets. In my free time, I like handicraft such as knitting, and tennis.

PhD Students

Owen Benton- PhD Student Bristol / OIST (2010-2014), Postdoctoral Scholar OIST (2014-2016)

I began my PhD with Nic Shannon in Bristol in 2010 and completed it on the sunny shores of Okinawa. After a couple more years working in OIST, I have now taken up a postdoc position in the Condensed Matter Theory Laboratory of Akira Furusaki at RIKEN.  Outside work I enjoy playing football, watching cricket, and exploring Tokyo with my wife Missy.
Owen is now a postdoc at MPI-PKS Dresden.

Ankur Dhar - Quantum Wave Microscopy Unit, co-supervised by Prof. Shannon (2014-2020)

Hailing from the San Francisco Bay Area, I made my way to OIST after completing my Bachelor's in Physics at the University of California Berkeley by way of England, where I completed my MPhil degree at the University of Cambridge. I have been a PhD student in the Quantum Wave Microscopy Unit at OIST since 2015, but I have been working closely with the TQM unit to study the experimental signatures of monopoles in spin ice. Learning from both units has been an enormously enriching experience I would not likely find anywhere else. In addition to this work, I enjoy playing video games, building Gundam models, and appreciating the beautiful environments of Okinawa through the lens of my favorite cameras.
Ankur is now a Research Associate at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. 

Christina Lee - PhD student (Oct 2014-2018)

Though my interests started in astrophysics, I have transitioned to condensed matter theory rotating with and then finally joining the TQM group in May 2015.  As an undergrad in physics, I performed research in extrasolar planets with Dr. John Johnson (now Harvard), and in testing General Relativity for LIGO with Dr. Alan Weinstein.  An early interest in Japan and the Japanese language led me to OIST, in addition to their fascinating program and great research.  My outside interests include origami, knitting, and piano.

Rico Pohle- Junior Research Fellow (Dec 2017-May 2018), PhD student (2013-2018)

I received my diploma in experimental physics from Dresden University of Technology (Germany) in 2012. During my diploma I studied surface properties of the unconventional pnictide superconductor LiFeAs with an Scanning Tunneling Microscope. After joining the PhD program of the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) as one of its first students, I switched to theoretical physics and try to enlarge my understanding of thermodynamical and dynamical properties in spin liquids. Next to my studies I am very interested in martial arts, dancing and the exploration of the culture, history and spirit of the islands of Okinawa and Japan.
Rico is now a postdoc at Wasaeda University.

Kimberly Remund

As past of my Master’s degree, which I did at EPFL in Switzerland, I had the opportunity to accomplish my Master’s project here at OIST. After what I decided to join the OIST PhD program and the TQM unit.
Beside physics and science, I like dancing, cycling along the hilly, winding roads of Okinawa and enjoying the pleasant weather as well as the tasty food of the Islands. I am also interested in Martial Arts and in discovering more about the history and culture of Okinawa.

Luis Seabra- PhD Student Bristol (2006-2010)

I did my PhD with Nic in Bristol on highly frustrated magnets under magnetic field. My academic career continued with a brief stop in Budapest with Karlo Penc, and then two consecutive postdocs with Frank Pollmann in MPI-PKS, Dresden and Netanel Lindner in in Technion, Israel, where I numerically studied low-dimensional phases of matter. Details of my academic career can be found in I am now working in the field of data analysis and science with Closer Consulting in Lisbon.

Andrew Smerald- Researcher OIST(2012-2013), PhD Student Bristol (2008-2012)

Having studied in both Oxford and Bristol in the UK, I moved to Okinawa in September 2012 after completing my PhD. I stayed there for approximately one year as a postdoc, continuing with the research that Nic and I started in Bristol. I am now working at the EPFL in Switzerland, in Prof. Mila's group.  Outside of physics, I like being active, and play a variety of sports. My other favourite hobby is teasing my Texan friend, Missy Benton, who is an honorary member of the TQM group.
Andy is now a postdoc at MPI-FKF Stuttgart.

Andreas Thomasen (PhD Student 2016-2021, co-supervised by Prof. Judit Romhanyi)

I graduated from Aarhus University with a master's degree in optics and electronics. I've since then done various short research projects in quantum state engineering and cold atom physics. Eventually I have found myself at OIST, where I am now doing my PhD in the Theory of Quantum Matter unit. I enjoy learning about strange states of matter that exist at very low temperatures and the methods that are used to describe them. I find the intuitions that one can obtain here very satisfying and elegant. I also like rowing, cycling and playing esoteric board games with my friends.
Andreas is now working for Qunasys.

Han Yan - Junior Research Fellow (2019-Dec 2020), PhD student (2013-2019)

After obtaining a Master's degree in Applied Math from Univ. of Cambridge and another in Physics from Northwestern Univ., I came to OIST to do my PhD study (2013-2019), after which I also stayed for a bit time as a Junior Research Fellow (2019-2020). At OIST, I have worked on various fascinating problems in both condensed matter and high energy physics. I enjoyed doing research on the boundary of these two disciplines, with a focus on understanding frustrated spin systems in terms of emergent gauge/gravity/string theory. Implications of these highly entangled, the topological many-body system also shed light on high energy theories. 

I received Research Fellowship for Young Scientists from JSPS, the Award for Student Excellence in Graduate Research, and the Peter Gruss Doctoral Dissertation Excellence Award for my research at OIST. I am now a Junior Fellow of Rice Academy at Rice University.

Research Interns

Pierre Adroguer- Research Intern Bristol (Summer 2008)

After my first experience in Theoretical Condensed Matter physics with Nic in Bristol in the summer 2008, I have focused on theoretical mesoscopic physics with a PhD I have done and defended in 2013 in the ENS de Lyon about Electronic transport properties of topological insulators under the supervision of Dr. David Carpentier and Dr. Pascal Degiovanni. From September 2013 to September 2015, I have worked in the mesoscopic physics unit in the Universität Würburg (Germany).
I am now a physics teacher in France, and you can find some of my works on the website :

Maxime Garnier- Research Intern OIST (Apr-Aug 2015)

I am currently studying physics at the Ecole Normale Superieure de Cachan and Université Pierre & Marie Curie in Paris, France, and I joined the TQM unit for a 4-months internship here in Okinawa. Besides the great physics done here at OIST, my deepest interests go to playing the bass, listening to music, meeting new people and studying the social sciences. I really want to enjoy Okinawan landscapes, food and culture as much as possible !

Kazuki Okigami - Research Intern OIST (Feb-Mar 2020)

I am a student in the department of physics at Hokkaido University presently, and I came to OIST as a research internship student to start my research. I am interested in condensed matter theory, especially in frustrated magnetism. In addition to enjoying work αt OIST, I would like to explore a lot of beautiful places while I am in Okinawa.

Valentin Raban - Research Intern OIST (Summer 2013)

I joined the TQM unit in 2013 for a 3-month internship. I then went back to France to complete my Master degree at the ENS Lyon. I am now doing a PhD on frustrated magnetism, between Lyon and Montpellier, with P. Holdsworth and L. Berthier. Outside work I enjoy cycling and hiking in the countryside near Montpellier.

Addison Richards- Research Intern OIST (May-Sep 2018)

Currently an undergraduate student at the University of Waterloo, I came to OIST to complete a research project as a summer intern. My interests are in the numerical simulation of complex systems and the mathematical framework of statistical and condensed matter physics. In my free time I like to exercise and play logic games such as chess. While I am here, I hope to learn more about the many facets of science being studied at OIST and experience Japanese culture.

Victor Drouin-Touchette - Research Intern OIST (May-Aug 2016)

After finishing a Bachelor in Mathematics and Physics at University of Montreal, I joined the TQM group for an internship to explore the physics of frustrated magnetism. Previously, I worked with Michel Gingras at University of Waterloo on the effect of anisotropic couplings on the Hubbard model on the triangular lattice. I will soon begin a Ph.D. at Rutgers University, focusing on theoretical condensed matter. While in Okinawa, I enjoy trying new exotic food, discovering the fishes and corals through snorkeling, and hiking through the tropical forest !

Sameer Narahari Wagh- Research Intern OIST (Summer 2013)

I am pursuing a PhD in Computer Security in Electrical Engineering at Princeton University. I am fortunate to be advised by Prof. Prateek Mittal. My current research interests are in theoretical security and applied cryptography.  Previously, I spent 4 wonderful years at IIT Madras doing a B.Tech in Engineering Physics.  My list of non-academic interests vastly exceeds its academic counterpart. I like traveling, cooking and am passionate about sports in general.

Ziwei Wang- Research Intern OIST (Jul-Sep 2022)

I received my bachelor and master degrees in Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge, and my research experiences leaned heavily towards disordered systems, including many-body localisation and Anderson localisation. Currently, I am happy to learn about interesting topics in many-body quantum systems in general. After OIST, I am expected to enroll in Oxford to pursue a DPhil (i.e. PhD) in theoretical physics. Outside work, I love anime, music and history.

Pedro Luis Artunduaga Ortiz- Research Intern OIST (Jul-Sep 2022)

I am a research intern in the TQM unit. I am from Colombia, and as an undergraduate student, OIST offers me the opportunity to learn about the scientific context from different points of view. Furthermore, I am a physics student in Colombia, and I prefer to use computers to solve problems and do simulations related to condensed matter physics. Coming to Japan is an extraordinary way to learn and gain life experiences related to science and culture. I enjoy practicing indoor volleyball and beach volleyball, and I hope to do my best in this interesting research internship.

Rotation Students (2018~)

Pelayo Jose Carlos (Jan-Apr 2020)

I obtained my Master's degree in physics from the University of San Carlos (Philippines) and a diploma in theoretical physics (1 year master program) from International Center for Theoretical Physics (Italy). My previous studies are primarily in the field of theoretical condensed matter physics while my current interests are still in condensed matter physics with the addition of quantum information, and quantum thermodynamics. In my free time I usually play computer games and read manga.

Nico Fischer (Sep-Dec 2021)

I studied physics in Jena, a small university town in eastern Germany, where I worked on different approaches to holography (the one in high energy physics, not optical holography). Part of this investigation was a 5-month internship at OIST in the Quantum Gravity Unit with Prof. Yasha Neiman. Now in my 3rd rotation, I would like to learn more about spin liquids and related novel phases of condensed matter, especially (but not only) to better understand the recently discovered connections between spin liquids and black holes. When not doing physics, I like to invest time learning Japanese, read novels, or try out scuba diving in the beautiful waters surrounding Okinawa.

Yuta Ito (Jan-Apr 2018)

I’ve earned my master degree in astronomy at university of Tokyo. After some thinking, I decided to pursue my doctorate degree here at OIST, a place that gives the chance to reexamine my interests in an amazing environment. Although, I explored the galactic dynamics during my master program, recently, I started being fascinated by condensed matter physics which is also about many-body system, just like galaxies, but consists of quantum particles such as electrons. In addition to studying, I’m interested in various things including sports, music, movie, books, English, trip, etc. If I have the opportunity to try interesting things, I would love to challenge myself.

Tim Keller (May-Aug 2018)

I obtained my Master's degree from Saarland University in Saarbrücken (Germany) in the group of Giovanna Morigi, where I studied the out-of-equilibrium dynamics of small ultracold atomic systems and the fascinating properties of quantum crystals of matter and light, formed by the process of atomic self-organization in optical cavities. At OIST, I hope to learn more about many-body and condensed matter physics, especially about collective quantum effects at low temperatures like novel states of matter. Outside of physics, I enjoy being around and inside Okinawa's beautiful ocean and exploring the island.

Irina Korshok (Jan-May 2021)

During my master’s at Saint Petersburg State University, I studied the effects of superradiance in Rb vapor systems under the femtosecond laser pulses. After that, I applied for an internship at OIST, and, eventually, for a PhD. My interests are lying in the applied physics and math area, where I use various numerical methods and/or machine learning for a wide range of physical problems. This is my third rotation where I am planning to make a project by using Monte-Carlo methods and C++. Besides science, I like walking, trying new food, and drawing.

Keerthy Menon (May-Aug 2020)

I am a forever-24 year old physics enthusiast hailing from Cochin in the south-west coast bordering the beautiful Arabian sea, Kerala. I have a Master's degree in Physics from Central University, Karnataka, India with a specialization in quantum mechanics. I have formerly worked in quantum foundation problems namely wave particle duality in double slit experiments. Recently my research interests have developed into ultra cold quantum gases and theoretical condensed matter physics. Besides Physics , I love music, cooking and sunsets in the beach

Friederike Metz (May-Aug 2018)

After studying in Germany, the US, and Canada, as well as traveling around the world, my journey brought me all the way to Okinawa, where I am now a first year PhD student. Academically, I am similarly curious and have worked in the fields of astrophysics, quantum information, and particle physics. In my free time I enjoy snorkeling, discovering this beautiful island, and learning Japanese.

Sarika Nair (Sep-Dec 2020)

I did my master’s degree from university of Kerala. After that I joined as a research assistant in IISER Mohali, India. I am interested in quantum physics and I enjoy to explore the strange phenomenon’s in nature using the novel ideas of quantum physics. I have research experience in quantum optics. In future I want to extend my research experiences into BE condensate, Quantum matter, Quantum foundation, Quantum information, Quantum cryptography etc. Along with observing nature I love travelling, reading and spending time with friends.

Weber Natalya (Jan-Apr 2020)

I'm a WIS graduate with a degree in chemistry. I came to OIST, because it allows me to keep sciencing away while exploring new avenues of interest. In my spare time I hang out with a blind cat, trade pennies with random people, try to ask the right questions and strive to be aware in every possible way.

Darya Stepanenko (Jan-Apr 2018)

Motivation for me is to make the world, we live in, a better place. One can do this either by being a doctor, a teacher or, may be, a scientist.
I was too bad in biology to become a good doctor, therefore I decided to become a physicist. Thus, I found myself in Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.  After graduating with Bachelor degree in Applied Physics and Math, I came to OIST to finally make an impact in medicine as a physicist.
Mountains attract me a lot, I like hiking and trekking. But I came here to Okinawa, where there are almost no possibilities to go closer to the sky.  On the contrary, the minus level above the sea is reachable easily. Sea is more like mother for soul, while mountains is father. Originally, I am from Kazakhstan, mountain country, I spent a lot of time living nearby father, it's time to live nearby mother.

Simone Tandurella (Jan-Apr 2022)

My journey to Okinawa begins in my hometown of Naples, Italy where I studied for my BSc in Chemical Engineering at UniNa. From there on I moved to TU Delft (Netherlands) in order to pursue an MSc in that same field. My graduation project has focused on a machine learning approach to the modelling of biomass pyrolysis yields, and has left me a taste for modelling and computational statistics. I began my studies at OIST in September 2021, but my journey to the island has yet to end as I am currently still remote. As part of my out-of-field rotation I joined TQM unit, where I plan to learn new perspectives that may come in handy for my future endeavours. Apart from research, I love, in order: cooking, eating, photographing, walking, sitting and reading, and plan to do lots of it in Okinawa!


Yuta Yamazaki (Jan-May 2021)

I got my master's degree from Tokyo Tech in Japan. My major is molecular biology, biochemistry, and cell biology.  I participated in TQM unit as an out-of-field rotation student. I'm happy to learn machine learning here because I have been shocked by Deep learning technology, especially in Go. I like playing Go so it was really shocking for me to know that AI, called Alphago, that is much stronger than professional Go players were invented using deep learning technology.  I want to learn as much as possible here during lab rotation!

Research Unit Administrators

Megumi Ikeda (2018-2023)

My duties are to assist unit members with any non-science problems so that they can excel with their academic work. My favorite part of my job is interacting with people and peeking at unit members while they struggle with overwhelming science!!
Outside of work, I enjoy biking, reading and sleeping on the beach. I am now working as RUA at OIST Center for Quantum Technologies and Rosti Unit.

Shiho Saito (2011-2017)

As a RUA, I was a member of TQM unit since it joined OIST in Oct 2011 until Sep 2017. I now work with Hikami unit and newly joined Pigolotti Unit at OIST.