Neural circuit of multisensory integration
Asuka Takeishi
Asuka received her PhD from the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Tokyo. Following the completion of a postdoctoral fellowship at Brandeis University in the United States, she assumed her current position in 2019.
Originally from Hyogo Prefecture in the Kansai region, Asuka, despite spending more than half of her life outside of Kansai, is an archetypal Kansai woman, or Oba-chan, and always keeps hard candies in her bag. She speaks at a fast pace and frequently uses onomatopoeic words. As a Kansai woman, she prefers animal prints and flashy clothes. She can’t turn down anything labeled "free" and strongly embraces the "Mottainai (feeling of regret for letting something go to waste)" mentality. Her lab and home are filled with items received as gifts, with her belief that "someday, maybe, they might come in hand," and she actively incorporates SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) into her daily life.
Neural Circuitry of Learning and Memory
Joshua Johansen
Josh received his PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at New York University before starting his lab at RIKEN in 2011. He enjoys discovery and adventure, whether that be in science or through exploring the world by foot, skis, bicycle or surfboard. His latest escapades involve finding his physical limits and appreciating the natural beauty of Japan riding his bicycle in the Kanto area and Japanese Alps.
Imagination and Executive Functions
Kentaro Miyamoto
Kentaro, with a Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo's Graduate School of Medicine, assumed his current position in 2021 after a postdoc at the University of Oxford. Utilizing a childhood bitter experience of feeling out of place in groups, he launched the "Contrarian Biology" research project. This initiative explores how the diversity of individual behavior within a group contributes to individual well-being and overall group benefits, stability, resilience, and flexibility. In his personal life, Kentaro has a soft spot for the Sumikko Gurashi character "Lizard." During visits to art museums, he brings his lizard companion, enjoying quality time at cafes and breakfast together.
Dementia Pathophysiology Collaboration Unit
Hiroki Sasaguri
Hiroki received his PhD from the School of Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, Tokyo Medical and Dental University. After completing a postdoc at Mayo Clinic in the United States, he joined RIKEN in 2016 and has been in his current position since August 2022. Leveraging nearly 10 years of clinical experience as a neurologist and a mental toughness honed during his early years as a junior physician, he ambitiously tackles extremely challenging research on brain diseases. He may look young, but is secretly older, and currently grapples with ailments such as frozen shoulder, lower back pain, and presbyopia. His main concern, however, revolves around how to abbreviate the excessively long and difficult-to-pronounce name of his laboratory. His second main concern is his relatively low standing in his own research lab due to his laid-back personality and lack of authority. He has a sweet tooth and always keeps a drawer full of snacks, a tradition known as 'Hiroki’s chocolate drawer' from his time at Mayo Clinic.
Previous Speakers
Speakers for 1st edition

Master of Ceremonies

竹内 薫
Science Writer
Kaoru is a cat-loving science writer with a Ph.D. in Physics. His activities include writing scientific review articles, essays, and book reviews, appearing on TV and radio, and giving lectures. He is also the principal of YES International School, which provides education for surviving in the age of AI.