Katehi discusses best practices in Tech Transfer

Gene Quinn, a patent attorney who blogs at IPWatchdog.com, recently posted a report on a presentation by Chancellor Linda Katehi at the BIO 2010 conference, followed by a Q&A.

Reinforcing Dave Kappos’ remarks during his visit to UC Davis last month, Katehi talked about a new model of university tech transfer that takes a long-term perspective, rather than trying to quickly flip inventions into licenses, and where companies and universities work together more closely to translate inventions into products.

Read the full article here.

Bike controls and the pedal desk

Professors Mont Hubbard and Ron Hess in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering are running a project to study bicycle-human control systems. It turns out, says Hess, that this is a harder problem to study than his usual field: pilots flying airplanes.

“What makes riding a bicycle unique is that you have to use all the sensory information available,” Hess said. That includes not just vision and hearing, but motion, orientation, awareness of where your limbs are, and the movement of muscle groups.

UC Davis experts comment on “artificial life”

A bacterial cell running on synthetic DNA has been created by researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute, it was widely reported today. A paper on the work is published online by the journal Science today. Looking at the press reaction, there is quite a lot of admiration for the technical achievement, coupled with concerns about the ethics of “creating life.” I asked some UC Davis experts in genomics, biotech and molecular biology for their opinions on this.

Head of US Patent Office backs new approach to tech transfer

I recently had the chance to talk to David Kappos, under secretary of commerce for intellectual property and director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Kappos has a degree in electrical engineering from UC Davis and has some nice things to say about the campus, as you can read below. But most of his conversation with faculty and administrators during his visit was about a new approach to technology transfer that emphasizes long-term relationships between industry and university rather than relying on a “blockbuster” patent to pay off. He also had interesting things to say about the future of innovation in the US and the relationship with China. The full text of my article is below: an edited version also appeared in Dateline last week.

Must-read from the Gulf: How much is a turtle worth?

Michael Ziccardi, director of the Oiled Wildlife Care Network, has been blogging from the Gulf of Mexico where he his helping organize cleanup efforts. In this post Ziccardi discusses the costs of saving wildlife from oil spills. Wildlife rescue is expensive — but it is only a fraction of the cost of a major oil spill, he writes. For example, wildlife rescue costs were only 5 percent of the total costs of the Exxon Valdez cleanup. But there’s more to it than that:

Snowball Earth and Carbon Swings

Last week a team of geologists from Princeton University published a paper in Science showing a massive change in the Earth’s carbon cycle some 720 million years ago. At the time, the Earth may have been in a “snowball” phase: a massive, global ice age in which glaciers and ice sheets covered the planet right down to the Equator.

From analyzing carbon isotopes in limestone rocks in Australia, the Princeton team think that there was a massive buildup of organic carbon in the oceans under the ice. That might have come from the ice sheets scraping material on land and dumping mineral nutrients into the ocean, they speculate.