Jan Rapacz, professor emeritus of animal sciences, died on Sunday, May 5, in Krakow, in his native Poland. Among his many accomplishments, the one that drew the most attention was the establishment of a unique population of pigs that can help heart disease research. Along with Judith Hasler-Rapacz, his research partner and wife, Rapacz was able to show that in addition to developing high cholesterol levels and clogged arteries that are similar to human symptoms, these pigs share an underlying genetic similarity.
The heart disease-prone pigs remain as part of the Rapacz legacy. Jess Reed’s research group in the Department of A nimal Sciences continues to propagate the Rapacz Familial Hypercholesterolemic line of swine at the Swine Teaching and Research Center. These pigs are used on campus and sold to laboratories around the world for biomedical research purposes.