University of Missouri
Since 1982 Dr. Prather’s research has focused on the early mammalian embryo. He obtained his BS and MS from Kansas State University, and PhD and Postdoc from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While at Wisconsin, he cloned the first pigs, and some of the first cattle, by nuclear transfer. 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. His group helped to develop pigs that have 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 others resistant to the transmissible gastroenteritis virus. His lab at Mizzou has made over 76 different genetic modifications for agriculture and medicine. He is the Director of the NIH-funded National Swine Resource and Research Center. In addition to his transgenic pig research, he and his collaborators have identified genes in the reproductive tissues of pigs and cattle that will help develop an understanding of the pattern of gene expression to reduce the 30% loss of pregnancies that naturally occurs in mammals. He is currently a Curators’ Distinguished Professor in the Division of Animal Science at the University of Missouri.