College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

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March 24, 2014

UC Berkeley Mourns the Loss of Sydney Kustu

Professor Emerita Sydney Kustu, a distinguished faculty member in UC Berkeley’s Department of Plant and Microbial Biology, died in Berkeley, Calif., on March 18. She was 71 years old. She was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and was instrumental in the revitalization of the field of microbiology on the Berkeley campus.

“Kustu has made major contributions to our understanding of the regulation of gene expression,” a statement read during her induction into the National Academy of Sciences said. “Her work has led to the identification of the novel mechanisms responsible for the regulated expression of the enzymes and transport systems involved in nitrogen metabolism in bacteria.”

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Sydney Govons Kustu was born in 1943 in Baltimore, Md. She earned a B.A. at Harvard University and a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from UC Davis, and did post-doctoral work at UC Berkeley until 1973, when she was appointed to the UC Davis Bacteriology faculty. She remained at UC Davis until 1986, when she joined what was then Berkeley’s Microbiology and Immunology faculty, with a dual appointment in Plant Pathology. She retired in 2010.

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March 19, 2014

Corporate-funded academic inventions spur increased innovation, analysis says

By Sarah Yang, Media Relations

Academic research sponsored by industry has a strong track record of leading to innovative patents and licenses, challenging assumptions that corporate support skews science toward inventions that are less accessible and less useful to others than those funded by the government or non-profit organizations, according to a new analysis.

The findings, published today (Wednesday, March 19) in a commentary in the journal Nature, are based upon a study of two decades of records from the University of California system.

The authors, led by Brian Wright, UC Berkeley professor of agricultural and resource economics, analyzed 12,516 inventions and related licenses at nine UC campuses and three associated national laboratories. The inventions were disclosed between 1990 and 2005, and licensing activity was analyzed through 2010. Of the inventions, nearly 1,500 were supported at least partly by private industry. (UC Merced, the 10th UC campus, was not included because it opened in 2005.)

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University research funded by industry yields inventions that were more likely to result in patents and licenses than federally funded research alone, an analysis finds. (iStockphoto)

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