Machine Vision Research Technician in the Biological Physics Theory Unit

The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST; see is a dynamic new graduate university of science and technology in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. The university is located on 85 hectares of protected forestland overlooking beautiful shoreline and coral reefs. The campus is striking architecturally, and the facilities are outstanding (OIST campus video tour). There are no academic departments, which facilitates multidisciplinary research. Outstanding resources and equipment are provided and managed to encourage easy access and collaboration. English is the official language of the University, and the university research community is fully international, with more than 50 countries represented. OIST is rapidly gaining recognition in the worldwide academic community as a model for excellence in education and research.

Position Summary:

The Stephens Unit at OIST is seeking a research technician with experience in machine vision to join our team in the social behavior of adult zebrafish. We develop custom 3D posture-scale tracking of multiple swimming animals and are especially seeking applicants with a computational/machine vision background to further our tracking capabilities and to improve our computational pipeline. Learn about what we do from our website, the summary below, and from the "physics of behavior" episode of the OIST podcast series. 

Unit Summary:

The Biological Physics Theory Unit is pioneering a new field – the physics of behavior: from individual organisms to entire societies. While the science of the living world is mostly focused on the microscopic, such as the expression of genes or the pattern of electrical activity in our brains, all of these processes serve the greater evolutionary goals of the organism: to find food, avoid predators and reproduce. This is the behavioral scale, and despite its importance, our quantitative understanding of behavior is much less advanced. But how do we quantify the emergent dynamics of entire organisms? What principles characterize living movement? Research in our unit addresses these fundamental questions with a modern biophysics approach and model systems ranging from the nematode C. elegans to zebrafish, honeybees and squid. We combine theoretical ideas from statistical physics, information theory and dynamical systems and work in close collaboration with scientists from OIST and around the world to seek unifying principles from novel, quantitative experiments of organisms in natural motion.


1919‐1 Tancha, Onna‐son, Okinawa, Japan 904-0495


  1. Maintain and improve our current 3D bodypoint tracking pipeline which incorporates and SLEAP across multiple camera views on a cluster environment.
  2. Lead the development of new tracking capabilities. These could include additional body points, larger fish groups, and visual features such as body stripe contrast.  
  3. Contribute generally to the research and management efforts of the Biological Physics Theory Unit, including attending meetings and seminars as well as mentoring student research and interfacing with our research administrator.



  1. Bachelor of Science degree
  2. Experience in machine vision
  3. Full scientific proficiency in English


  1. Master of Science degree
  2. Experience in deep learning applied to images

Report to 

Prof. Greg Stephens

Starting Date 


Term & Working Hours 

Term: Full-time, fixed term appointment for 1 or 2 years. Contract initially with 3-month probationary period (inclusive). This contract may be renewed. 

Working hours: 9:00-17:30 (Discretionary)

Compensation & Benefits 

Compensation in accordance with the OIST Employee Compensation Regulations


  • Relocation, housing and commuting allowances
  • Annual paid leave and summer holidays
  • Health insurance (Private School Mutual Aid )
  • Welfare pension insurance (kousei-nenkin)
  • Worker’s accident compensation insurance (roudousha-saigai-hoshou-hoken)

How To Apply 

Please submit a curriculum vitae and names of three references by email to:

greg.stephens (replace # with @ before using this email address)

Submission Documents 

  • Curriculum vitae in English
  • Names and contact information of 3 referees

*Prior to the start of employment all new hires are required to successfully complete a background check. Personal information including employment history and academic background should be submitted to third-party administrators after a conditional offer of employment.

Application Due Date 

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.


  • OIST Graduate University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action educator and employer and is committed to increasing the diversity of its faculty, students and staff. The University strongly encourages applications from underrepresented groups.
  • Information provided by applicants or references will be kept confidential, documents will not be returned. All applicants will be notified regarding the status of their applications.
  • Please view OIST policy for rules on external professional activities
  • Further details about the University can be viewed on the OIST website