Dr. Robert Goldberg, Ph.D., is a director of the biotechnology company Ceres Inc.. Dr. Goldberg is a Distinguished Professor of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology at the University of California, Los Angeles and a founder of Ceres. He was a Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles since 1976, teaching genetic engineering and studying the genes that are required for seed formation. Dr. Goldberg is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and has consulted in the agriculture and biotechnology industries. Dr. Goldberg has served as a director of Ceres since 1996.
In 2002 Ceres Inc. entered into a partnership with Monsanto, announced in a press release as "an important product discovery and development collaboration focused on applying genomics technologies to provide improvements in certain agricultural crops".
Hendrik Verfaillie, chief executive officer of Monsanto, was quoted in the press release as saying:
- Our new alliance with Ceres provides us access to a proprietary knowledge base that will accelerate Monsanto's product pipeline. By marrying the complementary genomics capabilities of Ceres with the product development capabilities of Monsanto, we will be in a position to deliver additional value to farmers worldwide.
Conflict of interest undisclosed or unreported
Goldberg was widely quoted in the press opposing Proposition 37, the California ballot initiative to mandate labelling of GM foods, but he was only described as an academic - his conflicting commercial interest in GM was not mentioned. In a media article for Take Two in the US, he called Prop 37 "an assault on a perfectly safe and important science". The article described him as one of "A number of independent geneticists and molecular biologists".
Similarly in the LA Times, he was quoted refuting a study by Prof Gilles-Eric Seralini, which found Monsanto's genetically modified maize NK603 and the Roundup herbicide it is engineered to tolerate caused tumours, increased mortality and organ damage in rats. Goldberg said "the study didn't offer any credible explanation for why the engineered corn would cause tumors". He was described only as "a plant molecular biologist at UCLA", with his commercial interest remaining undisclosed.
- Website: http://www.ceres.net/
- Macroaxis (2012) Ceres (CERE) insider: Robert Goldberg, acc 15 Nov 2012
- Ceres (2002) Monsanto and Ceres Announce Important Product Discovery and Development Collaboration, April 3 2002, acc 15 Nov 2012
- Molly Peterson, Part I: Fight over Prop 37 and genetically modified food heats up, Take Two, 17 Oct 2012, acc 15 Nov 2012
- Rosie Mestel, Study points to health problems with genetically modified foods, LA Times, 20 Sep 2012, acc 15 Nov 2012