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.

Wei Chen

Collaborating Master Student

Tushar Arora

Research Assistant


Aaron T. Nakamura

Research Assistant


Aaron Nakamura is a full-time research assistant at the International Research Center for Neurointelligence at the University of Tokyo. He works in three labs: Cai Lab, Nagai Lab, and Watanabe Lab. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, majoring in Psychology with a minor in TESL (Teaching ESL). He earned two Associate’s degrees in Psychology & Social and Behavioral Sciences with a Nursing Assistant certificate at Merced College, California. He also has a background in working for youth at a mental health treatment center. His research focuses lie primarily in the fields of developmental psychology, cognitive psychology, and cultural psychology. He is particularly interested and passionate about investigating brain plasticity, resiliency, national/racial/ethnic identity development, child maltreatment, and Early Childhood Adversity (ECA). His research interest has two distinct and overarching goals. The first goal is to examine the impact of ECA, mainly child maltreatment, and alterations in brain structures, as well as the brain’s functions. He is also interested in how we can facilitate the development of resiliency and positive brain plasticity. The second goal of his research is to investigate how people can formulate and stabilize one’s national, racial/ethnic, and cultural identity through ECA. He is specifically interested in how we can mitigate the negative effects of identity crises and support healthy identity development. He is also broadly interested in language acquisition, especially acquisition of L2 after the critical period and the impact of psychological environment.

Junxia Wang

Research Assistant

Xiangjing Shen

Research Assistant

Mujie Cui

Part-time Research Assistant


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.

Jialing Ding

Part-time Research Assistant


Yuma Kajihara

Remote Collaborating Student

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.

Zixun Wei


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