RIKEN Hakubi Fellows Program

Description of program

In the Hakubi Fellows Program, RIKEN offers junior PI positions for independent research by exceptionally talented individuals. The program, established in 2017, encourages active exchange between the fellows, and seeks to develop the next generation of leading researchers with a global outlook.


Research fields

All areas of the natural sciences, including the mathematical sciences; research in boundary areas with the humanities and social sciences. Research topics with the potential for high impact scientifically or socially, including unexplored areas, and research on issues humanity currently faces, are welcome.


We seek the best people from a wide range of candidates; doctoral degrees are not a prerequisite.


Maximum term of 7 years
Individuals taking prenatal, postnatal or childcare leave may extend their terms commensurate to the period they take for their leave, as provided in RIKEN regulations.

Research budget

10 to 40 million JPY per year, depending on research plan
(RIKEN’s facilities and equipment are available for use)


Salary: 910,000 JPY per month, based on an annual salary (social security and tax are deducted from salary)
Commuting expenses: Actual amount is paid up to maximum of 55,000 JPY per month
Housing allowance: Half of monthly rent up to a maximum of 40,000 JPY per month for single units and 60,000 JPY per month for family units
Relocation allowance: Available (based on RIKEN regulations)
Other: Membership in the Science and Technology Health Insurance Society and the Science and Technology Welfare Pension Fund

Location of research team

Teams may be located on RIKEN’s Wako Campus, and other RIKEN campuses when necessary


Active exchange encouraged between fellows
Regular meetings with RIKEN president

FY2019 calls for proposals

RIKEN Hakubi Fellows Program (Eng.)
Sechi Kato Program for Female RIKEN Hakubi Fellows (Eng.)

Accepted candidates

Hirofumi Shintaku

Starting date

April 1, 2018

Research topic

Microelectrokinetic tools for sequencing at sub-cellular resolution

Name of laboratory

Microfluidics RIKEN Hakubi Research Team


Image of Shintaku
I actively study problems involving fluid dynamics and transport phenomena in micro/nano confined spaces. The problems are inspired by microfluidic systems for biochemical analysis and cellular engineering. We are especially interested in electrokinetic phenomena, e.g., electrophoresis, electroosmotic flow, and electrowetting of complex fluids including cells and biomacromolecules. I recently developed a microfluidic system that enables the high-throughput sequencing of cytoplasmic and nuclear RNA with the physical fractionation of the RNA species via electrical lysis and isotachophoresis. I leverage this system to uncover the regulation of gene expression involving RNA localization and transport in single cells.

Nicholas Parrish

Starting date

August 1, 2018

Research topic

Immunobiology of endogenous viral elements in mammals

Name of laboratory

Genome Immunobiology RIKEN Hakubi Research Team


Image of Parrish
I am interested in the interactions between an organism’s genome and its viruses, especially how “self,” in the immunological sense, is established at the genome level. As a medical doctor with training in surgery, I am seeking new understanding that could enable practical innovations in preventing and treating virus infections and allowing tolerance to specific “non-self,” for example transplanted organs. My colleagues and I found that viral sequences present in some organism’s genomes can generate small RNAs called piRNAs. My team will test the hypothesis that this enables RNA interference to prevent or ameliorate virus infection. I am honored to join the first group of Hakubi team leaders at RIKEN and the Center for Integrative Medical Sciences, organizations with rich histories and exciting visions for the future. Having loved living in Kyoto in 2014, I look forward to moving back to Japan and exploring the Kanto area with my wife, Erica.

Kyogo Kawaguchi

Starting date

September 1, 2018

Research topic

Nonequilibrium statistical mechanics of stochastic fate choices and collective migration in cultured stem cell pools

Name of laboratory

Nonequilibrium physics of living matter RIKEN Hakubi Research Team


Image of Kawaguchi
Trained as a theoretical physicist, I started conducting biology experiments during my PhD studies, and am now interested in addressing themes of biology through concepts of theory and simple experiments. My motivation is based on the seemingly huge gap between the fascinating progress made in bio-experiments and the fundamental questions that remain unanswered in biology. I am currently most curious about the underlying mechanism of cell fate commitment, and I wish to find universal rules in multicellular dynamics in development and homeostasis. Through this program, I am hoping to develop interdisciplinary approaches for understanding living systems.