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

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.

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.

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.  Olga is now employed as an Adjunkt in the Marian Smoluchowski Institute of Physics at the Jagiellonian University, Krakow in Poland.  

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....

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.

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.

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.

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 !

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.

Rotation Students (2018~)

Leilee Chojnacki (May-Aug 2018)

I obtained my Master’s degree through the PSI programme at Perimeter Institute, where I was exposed a fascinating array of topics in Theoretical Physics, and I became interested in condensed matter physics and quantum information. During my time at OIST, I am passionate to discover more about unusual states of matter and what we can do with them. Beyond physics, I love to spend time in nature, and I have a longstanding interest in Okinawan culture and Martial Arts.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Research Unit Administrator

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.