Current Members


Mingbo Cai

Principal Investigator

mingbo[dot]cai [at] ircn[dot]jp

Mingbo Cai (蔡明博) is an Assistant Professor at International Research Center for Neurointelligence, The University of Tokyo. His interest includes the computational mechanism of learning and decision making, spontaneous thoughts, brain imaging analysis method, brain-inspired machine learning, and time perception. On the topics of human and machine learning, he is especially interested in how humans or machines can learn latent structure or “generative model” of the environment without direct supervision. Before starting the lab, he was previously a postdoctoral researcher in Yael Niv‘s lab at Princeton University, after obtaining his Ph.D. degree in Neuroscience from Baylor College of Medicine, working with David Eagleman and Wei Ji Ma, and B.S. degrees in Electronics and Psychology from Peking University. He currently serves as an associate editor for PLoS Computational Biology.

Taiping Zeng

Postdoctoral Researcher

zeng[dot]taiping [at] mail[dot]u-tokyo[dot]ac[dot]jp

Taiping received his Ph.D. in computational neuroscience and robotics from The University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, China in 2019. His research focuses on decision-making in spatial planning, robotics, spatial cognition and navigation. During his Ph.D., he worked on computational models of mammalian spatial navigation under the supervision of Bailu Si. In the lab, he works on modeling neural mechanisms of how the brain quickly makes good decisions to navigate the environments. He is also interested in using robots for testing hypotheses and validating models of nervous systems, and further generating valuable insight into cognition.

Ronald Dekker

Postdoctoral Researcher

Ron is a postdoctoral researcher in the Cai Lab. His research focuses on how knowledge is represented in human and machine agents, and what consequences this has for learning and generalization. He is currently working on a collaborative project with Mingbo Cai, Nicolas Schuck (MPI Berlin), and Quentin Huys (UCL), with the goal of decoding the semantic content and dynamics of spontaneous thought. Before coming to the Cai Lab, Ron received his Ph.D. from the University of Oxford, under the supervision of Prof. Christopher Summerfield. His Ph.D. work primarily involved understanding the effects of different training schedules on learning through large-scale online studies and using neural networks as a computational model.


Wei Chen

Collaborating PhD Student

Wei Chen is currently a collaborating graduate student from Yotsumoto lab, The University of Tokyo. His current research focuses on the computational modelling of decision making in schizophrenia. Before coming to UTokyo, he obtained a B.E.Hons. from The University of Auckland, specialized in software engineering. 

Aaron T. Nakamura

Research Assistant


Aaron Nakamura jointly works at Cai Lab, Nagai Lab, Watanabe Lab, and Baby Lab. He attended the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities for his graduate education in counseling psychology after earning his Bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in TESL (Teaching ESL). He has a background in working for youth at a mental health treatment center. His research focuses lie primarily in the fields of clinical, developmental, and cultural psychology. He is interested in examining the impact of Early Childhood Adversity (ECA), mainly child maltreatment, and alterations in brain structures/functions. He is also interested in investigating how people can formulate and stabilize one’s national, racial/ethnic, and cultural identity through ECA. He is also broadly interested in language acquisition.

Junxia Wang

Research Assistant

I am a research assistant at Cai Lab. I got my bachelor’s degree from Peking University, China, where I majored in physics and minored in economics. In the lab, I am currently working on an fMRI data project and exploring more interests in neuroscience. In my spare time, I like reading and hanging out with friends, exploring coffee shops, delicious foods, and mountains.

John Day

Research Assistant

John is currently a research assistant at the Cai Lab. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan, United States. He received his B.S. in Computer Science from the University of Michigan in 2020. He is interested in the relationship between artificial intelligence and natural intelligence. His current research involves developing and drawing insight from brain-inspired AI. He hopes to eventually pursue these research interests in graduate school. Besides research, John spends his free time working out, discovering new music, and teaching himself Japanese.

Zixun Wei


Zixun is a student for his bachelor’s degree at Waseda University, Japan, majoring in mechanical engineering and minoring in computer science. He is interested in computational neuroscience, particularly motor control and its embodied application, designing and controlling of the robotic prosthesis. Currently, he is working on open-access fMRI data to figure ideal imaging protocols and actively exploring the knowledge of neuroscience.

Lab Alumni


Mujie Cui

Part-time Research Assistant


Xiangjing Shen

Research Assistant

Before I became a member of the lab, I was working as a machine learning engineer in the industry,  focused specifically on natural language processing. During the time, I also learned about mental health/educational counseling practice. Currently, I am working on the spontaneous thought encoding and decoding model of fMRI data, with the hope of developing diagnostic biomarkers. Besides working, I like playing basketball, reading novels, writing, and spending time with my friends.

Jianing Mu


Jianing is an undergraduate student from Haverford College. She majors in psychology with minors in neuroscience and statistics. She is interested in the interaction between attention and memory. She worked on predicting gaze patterns in egocentric infant eye-tracking data in the summer of 2021. She hopes to pursue her studies of neuroscience further in graduate school using both experimental and computational approaches. In her free time, she enjoys working as a theater technician, cooking, and reading fantasy novels. Currently, she is working with Prof. Anna Schapiro’s lab at University of Pennsylvania. 

Jialing Ding

Part-time Research Assistant

Jialing received her B.A. degree in Psychology from Waseda University with a minor in Software Study. She also studied Cognitive Science at UC San Diego during her 1-year studying abroad. Her research interests surround the field of learning and decision-making in people with mental diseases, especially anxiety disorders. Besides study, she volunteered at an NPO aiming to support Chinese international students’ mental health and worked as a production assistant at Olympic Broadcasting Services and movie Detective Chinatown 3. In her free time, she enjoys watching movies, playing badminton, and traveling. She is currently a master student at KU Leuven.

Tushar Arora

Research Assistant


Tushar Arora was a research assistant at the Cai Lab. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at IIIT-Delhi, India. His research work aims to understand object representation emergence and 3D scene understanding. Outside of the lab, you can find him hiking with his camera or reading fiction novels. Tushar is currently a master student of neuroscience at Stony Brook University.

Brandon Townsend

Part-time Research Assistant

btownsend0108 [at] gmail[dot]com

Brandon Townsend is a part-time research assistant at the International Research Center of Neurointelligence, University of Tokyo. He graduated from the University of California-Santa Barbara, majoring in sociology and minoring in applied psychology. His current interests revolve around the intersection between mental health and mechanisms of implicit bias decision making. He is currently a master’s student studying public health via an online graduate school program at the University of Nevada-Reno, and also studies Japanese in Tokyo.

Yuma Kajihara

Research Assistant

Yuma was a Research Assistant in April-August 2020, working on discovering signatures of psychiatric disorder from fMRI signals in natural task. He is now a PhD student with Kenji Doya at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology.