RIKEN is one of Japan’s foremost research institutes, with over 3000 staff in 8 campuses throughout Japan. Often compared in its role to the Max-Planck-Institutes in Germany, it has also elements of the German Helmholtz Association (research institutes of the Federal Government) since RIKEN also operates large equipment such as SPring-8 synchrotron or NMR core facility at its Yokohama institute with over 40 NMR machines including three 900 MHz and fourteen 800 MHz instruments.
The Yokohama campus, located in Baden-Württemberg’s partner province Kanagawa, has a strong profile in areas such as plant science, genomic medicine and –omics technology in general, but also in allergy, immunology and infectious diseases. It operates a systems - and structural biology center, furthermore a bioinformatics and systems engineering division.
The Omics Science Center (OSC) operates the national sequencing laboratory with ten Nextgen (Genome Analyzer, SOLiD, 454) and four Helicos genome sequencers. The Bioinformatics Core Facility at OSC is responsible for the first steps in data management of all data produced at the OSC, including quality control, mapping to reference genomes and basic annotation. For some projects, bioinformatic researchers also investigate data based on biological motivation. At present, 16 researchers at OSC are involved in the processing and analysis of data. They have access to more than 1000 CPU cores and may use other computing resources at the RIKEN computer center and the National Institute of Genetics of Japan. The Omics Science Center at RIKEN ist he core bioinformatics group of the international FANTOM consortium, focussing on the transcribed components of human and animal cells. The OSC team at RIKEN accepts regularily Ph. D. students and post-doctoral researchers from all over the world for stages concerning current projects.
Team leader of this impressive digital laboratory is Dr. Carsten Daub, a German bioinformatician who first studied chemistry at the TU Berlin, did his doctoral degree in 2004 at the MPI of Molecular Plant Physiology in Potsdam (Germany) and, after a two years post-doctoral training at the Karolinska Institutet’s Center or Genomics and Bioinformation in Stockholm (Sweden), joined the Genome Sciences Center at RIKEN in April 2006 on a five years’ contract. Since then, he has made a career overseas and, now at the age of 38, has made impact at this prestigious institution. His research interests are in novel levels of transcriptional regulation and promoter-specific regulation, in the various roles of non-coding short RNAs and in bioinformatics aspects of next generation sequencing.About his work and life in Japan, he conveys the following view:“Work at RIKEN is admittedly somewhat different from a job at a German university or research center, mainly due to the cultural differences. Hierarchy plays a considerable role, and courtesy is also quite important. On the other hand, it is not expected from foreign guests that they fully adapt to Japanese conditions, but rather that they import their own research culture to RIKEN. The vast majority of students and scientists experience their stage at RIKEN as very positive and educational. I personally have collected, during my stay here, a unique professional and personal experience which offer me a much richer view on my own German culture as I had before.“ Dr. Daub heads a team of 16 people studying the above subjects. As RIKEN is one of the most international research organizations in Japan and also provides facilities for the accommodation of foreign researchers, he is ready to examine job applications by young researchers from Baden-Württemberg (and of course from other states) under the following address: