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Seeking a Research Scientist (EM1901)


Laboratory for Epithelial Morphogenesis
RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research
(Team Leader: Yu-Chiun Wang)

Research Field

We investigate the molecular and mechanical mechanisms underlying epithelial cell and tissue deformation using the early Drosophila embryo as the model system. We aim at a multiscale understanding of: 1) How cells interpret positional formation produced by the upstream gene regulatory network to execute a mechanical program of deformation; 2) how mechanical forces that alter cell shape are generated, transmitted across the cellular and tissue scale, and modulated by cell polarity, adhesion and cytoskeletal networks; 3) how morphological precision is achieved and has been evolved. The ongoing projects include:

  • 1.Apical shape control via polarity-coupled microtubule pushing forces and counterbalancing cortical constraints.
  • 2.Global compressive stress as a universal driving force for epithelial folding.
  • 3.Tissue-scale mechanical coupling ensures morphogenetic precision.
  • 4.Control of epithelial fold depth at the interface between adherens junctions and underlying actin.
  • 5.Nucleus as mechanical nexus and modulator of epithelial force transmission.
  • 6.Transcriptome analysis of epithelial flattening.

Key references: Nature 484, 390; Developmental Cell 25, 299; Nature Cell Biology 20, 36. For more detailed description on our research, please visit Laboratory for Epithelial Morphogenesis homepage.

Job title and Job description

Positions available

Research Scientist (Postdoctoral researcher)

Job description

We work closely with the incoming new member to develop an independent project that could be related to previous and ongoing work in the lab, or new and outside-the-box thinking that falls within the general theme of epithelial morphogenesis. We encourage the applicants to propose their own ideas, and from the initial stage of application identify the areas of research and expertise they wish to explore and learn. The key methodologies that are actively being developed in the lab are:

  • 1.Quantitative imaging methods for the understanding of cell and tissue dynamics.
  • 2.Optogenetic, laser ablation and magnetic manipulation of mechanics in vivo.
  • 3.Cell-type specific RNA-seq techniques.
  • 4.Computational and numerical methods for cellular and tissue mechanics.

Our lab is an English-speaking lab that is ideal for Japanese scientists seeking training that follows international standards and non-Japanese scientists who wish to pursue a postdoctoral experience that is both intellectually stimulating and culturally enriching. We value scientific audacity and creativity. We also place strong emphasis on rigorous training to nurture future independent careers. Join us if you are looking for a fun, friendly, and exciting lab that does cutting-edge science!


We seek to identify individuals who share a passion for scientific discovery to join this interactive, interdisciplinary and international team. Candidates must possess a Ph.D. degree at the time of start with relevant expertise, such as the traditional disciplines of genetics, cell and developmental biology or cross-disciplinary fields of biophysics, quantitative and computational biology. Strong prior publications, self-motivation, creativity and independence are key traits that we are looking for.

Work location

RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research (Kobe Campus 1)
2-2-3 Minatojima-minamimachi, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo, 650-0047, Japan

Salary and benefits

Contract period

  • 1.One-year fixed-term employment contract, renewable based on evaluation, up to September 2023.
  • 2.However, the contract renewable period may be changed on the basis of the employee’s abilities, work load, performance, work attitude, continuation of the center, laboratory or project in which the employee is involved, and on the basis of RIKEN’s finance situation and budget condition at the time. In principle, no contract renewal will be made for people 66 years old or older.
  • 3.For contracts entered into on or after April 1, 2013, RIKEN will not enter into a new fixed-term employment contract that extends the employee’s total years of employment at RIKEN to more than 10 years.

There will be a trial period of employment (in principle, 2 months).
Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. Commuting and housing allowances will be provided. Social insurance will be applied. Mandatory membership in the RIKEN Mutual Benefit Society (RIKEN Kyosaikai). This position falls under the specialized duties discretionary work system; one working day will be calculated as 7 hours and 30 minutes. Days off include public holidays, New Year's holidays (Dec. 29 - Jan 3), and RIKEN Foundation Day.These and other provisions are in accordance with RIKEN regulations.

*RIKEN is promoting a Gender Equality Program by taking various measures to create a workplace where both men and women are able to give full rein to their talents and abilities. When applicants are judged to be equally qualified on the basis of fair and impartial criteria, women applicants will be given preference.

*Also, eligible for an exemption from repayment for category 1 scholarship loans provided by the Japan Student Services Organization before the fiscal year 2003, and eligible for applying for the MEXT Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (Kakenhi).

Application and required documents

Required documents

  • 1.Curriculum vitae or Curriculum vitae including the list of publications.
  • 2.Summary of past research accomplishments (1~2 pages)
  • 3.Plans for the future research in our lab and beyond (1~2 pages)
  • 4.Three reference letters directly sent by the referees (please do not include these in the package)
    *The reference letter should be addressed to 「Center Director, Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research」
  • 5.A copy of certificate of PhD degree awarded or other graduation certificates (or projected date of graduation if these are not currently available)
  • 6.Consent form for handling personal information based on GDPR
    If you are a resident of the European Economic Area (EEA), you are required to submit the document, “Consent form for handling personal information based on GDPR” with your signature.
    *You will find detailed information about General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on the following website:
    Data protection | European Commission


We will examine application documents as they are accepted. Application will be closed as soon as the position is filled.

Handling Personal Data

Handling of Personal Data: All private data sent to RIKEN in application for employment is handled in strict confidentiality, and such data is not utilized for any other purpose or disclosed to any third party. Application documents will not be returned.

Selection process

Selection will be made based on application screening and interview. After documents screening, only successful applicants will be invited for interview.
*We (the HR section) do not answer questions regarding the contents of the selection process.

Start of Employment

As soon as possible (Negotiable)

Send application to

Application package and recommendation letters should be sent to:
Address: 2-2-3 Minatojima-minamimachi, Chuo-ku, Kobe, Hyogo 650-0047, Japan
RIKEN Kobe branch, Kobe Administrative Division
Kobe Human Resources Section
Email: kobe-jobs [at] riken.jp (Replace [at] with @ )
Please make sure to indicate “Application for Laboratory for Epithelial Morphogenesis (EM1901)” in red on the envelope or in the subject column.


All questions related to the position should be addressed to:
Dr. Yu-Chiun Wang (yu-chiun.wang [at] riken.jp (Replace [at] with @ ) )