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Prather honored with 2022 K-State Distinguished Alumnus Award

His lab has created pigs not susceptible to PRRSV, resistant to transmissible gastroenteritis virus and Senecavirus A.

February 21, 2023

2 Min Read
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Kansas State University

Randall Prather was recently recognized as the 2022 Kansas State University Department of Animal Sciences and Industry Distinguished Alumnus.

Prather was born in Manawa, Wisconsin. His father was a veterinarian and instilled in him a love for agriculture. During high school his family moved to Garnett, Kansas, and operated a family farm. 

Prather obtained his bachelor's (1982) and master's (1984) degrees from K-State ASI, and his doctorate and postdoc from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Since 1982, his research has focused on the early mammalian embryo.

While at Wisconsin, he cloned the first pigs, and some of the first cattle, by nuclear transfer. After two years of postdoctoral studies at the University of Wisconsin, Prather moved to Columbia in 1989 and joined the University of Missouri faculty.

His group at the University of Missouri created miniature pigs that have the alpha 1,3 galactosyltransferase gene knocked out, thus paving the way for xenotransplantation. Additionally, his group helped develop pigs that develop cystic fibrosis, thus providing the first whole-animal model that can be used to study the disease. More recently, his lab created pigs that are not susceptible to porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome virus and other pigs resistant to transmissible gastroenteritis virus and Senecavirus A.

His lab at Mizzou has made more than 90 different genetic modifications for agriculture and medicine. He is the NIH-funded National Swine Resource and Research Center Director and co-PI of the NIH-funded Swine Testing Center for the Somatic Cell Gene Editing effort. He is currently a Curators' Distinguished Professor in the Division of Animal Science at the University of Missouri.

"The ASI Department is proud to recognize Randy Prather as the 2022 Distinguished Alumnus," says Mike Day, K-State ASI department head. "His impact extends from his foundation in animal agriculture and reproductive biology into many facets of animal and human health and biomedical sciences. The breadth of his contributions were on display in presentations at the K-State Swine Profitability Conference, during the ASI Farm Animal Reproduction and Genetics courses, and during a symposium presentation to faculty, staff and students at K-State."

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