Dr. Prendergast received his medical degree with honors from the University of the West Indies in 1968 and after internship attended Lincoln College of University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar whence he obtained a BA with First Class Honors in 1971 and MA in 1979. He commenced a residency in Internal Medicine at the Mayo Clinic in 1971 and subsequently obtained a PhD in Biochemistry from the joint Mayo Graduate School/ University of Minnesota program in 1977. Dr. Prendergast was appointed to the Faculty of the Department of Pharmacology at the Mayo Graduate School immediately after receiving his PhD and rose through the ranks quickly to become a full Professor simultaneously in that Department and in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in 1986. He was named the Edmond and Marion Guggenheim Professor in 1986, the year he also was named as Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
Dr. Prendergast was appointed as the Director for Research of Mayo Clinic Rochester in 1989 serving for the subsequent four years in that capacity. In 1990 he was also appointed to Mayo’s highest administrative committees . the Board of Governors and the Mayo Foundation’s Board of Trustees. He would eventually serve on these senior- most governing and Governance bodies continuously until 2009. In 1995 he was appointed as the Director of the Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Cancer Center a position he held until September 2006. His last administrative role at Mayo was as the charter Director of the Mayo Center for individualized Medicine. and he retired therefrom and from Mayo Foundation in December of 2014.
Simultaneously with his Mayo roles, and throughout his academic career Dr. Prendergast participated extensively in innumerable NIH and NSF grant review groups, task forces and advisory committees from 1992 until his retirement. Additionally, he was appointed as a non-executive member of the Board of Directors of Eli Lilly and Co, a post he held continually from 1995 until his retirement from that Board in 2017. He has been awarded several honors among them: honorary Doctorates from Purdue and the University of the West Indies, Distinguished Alumni awards from the University of the West Indies, University of Minnesota and most recently, in 2019 the Mayo Clinic. Finally, over the past twenty years Dr. Prendergast has served on the Boards of Directors or Scientific Advisory Boards of several Biotechnology start-ups