Yokobayashi Lab

Postdoctoral Scholar 2023

Beautifully situated on the subtropical island of Okinawa, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) is a young and growing university with no departments, eliminating artificial barriers between people working in different fields, but many nationalities, with students and faculty being attracted from all over the world. OIST is an international research university where English is used as the official language of business and instruction, and majority of students, researchers, and faculty are from outside Japan.

One postdoctoral scholar position is available to engage in research support activities in the Nucleic Acid Chemistry and Engineering Unit headed by Prof. Yohei Yokobayashi at OIST. The group moved to OIST in 2015 from University of California, Davis. With students and researchers from diverse backgrounds including synthetic chemistry, chemical biology, and molecular/cell biology, we design and construct nucleic acid devices and systems that function in test tubes and in living cells. (Photo credit: OIST)


1919-1Tancha, Onna‚Äźson, Okinawa, Japan 904-0495


The postdoctoral scholar is expected to engage in research, to disseminate the research results in publications and conference presentations, and to contribute to laboratory maintenance. The types of research that the candidate is expected to work on are as follows.

[Development and applications of synthetic riboswitches] We have been developing "synthetic riboswitches" that allow regulation of arbitrary gene expression by a small molecule. We make synthetic riboswitches that function in bacteria, artificial cells/cell-free systems, and mammalian cells. We also develop new foundational methods and tools for synthetic riboswitches. We are looking for candidates who are interested in riboswitch applications (academic, industrial, or biomedical), or riboswitch (including aptamer) development for new applications. Possible collaboration with industrial partners.

Examples include (but not limited to): Virus vectors for gene/cell therapies, regulation of (stem) cell differentiation, chemical regulation of noncoding RNAs (ncRNAs), applications of synthetic riboswitches in cells/organisms other than bacteria and mammalian cells, intercellular communication systems that contain both artificial and living cells.

[Other functional nucleic acids] Development and applications of functional nucleic acid devices in cellular (including non-mammalian cells) and cell-free systems. Refer to our ongoing and previous research projects from the link above. The candidate should be able to adapt a variety of methods and technologies from the literature, and to develop new methods and design strategies as necessary. The candidate should be knowledgeable and experienced enough to develop research plans relevant to chemistry and applications of functional nucleic acids. Prior experience with relevant techniques, or sufficient experience to acquire such skills, is required.


Candidates with Ph.D. in relevant fields such as life sciences or chemical biology. Solid communication skills in English, and good organizational and record-keeping skills are required.


Full-time, fixed term appointment for 2 years, with the possibility of renewal




Discretionary (standard working hours 9:00-17:30 M-F)


In accordance with the OIST Employee Compensation Regulation


- Relocation, housing, and commuting allowances

- Annual paid leave and summer holidays

- Health insurance (Private School Mutual Aid http://www.shigakukyosai.jp/ ), welfare pension insurance, worker's accident compensation insurance

- Extensive support for international scholars and employees to adapt to life in Okinawa, including assistance with relocation, childcare, and healthcare


Please submit the following documents in English or Japanese in PDF files to recruit.nace@oist.jp.

1. Cover letter

2. Curriculum Vitae along with the contact information for two or more references

3. Brief summary of current and previous research


Applications are accepted until the position is filled