Wendell Meredith Stanley was born in Ridgeville, Indiana in 1904. He began his advanced education at Earlham College and graduated with a B.S. in 1926 when he entered the University of Illinois, gaining an Master of Science degree in 1927 and a Ph.D. in chemistry in 1929.
Shortly after completing his degree, Stanley left to do research at Munich as a National Research Council Fellow. In late 1931, he returned to the United States to take up a post as Assistant at the Rockefeller Institute. He remained with the Institute until 1948, becoming an Associate Member in 1937, and a Member in 1940. In 1948, he was appointed Professor of Biochemistry and Director of the Virus Laboratory, University of California; during 1948-1953 he was Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry, and in 1958 he became Professor of Virology and Chairman of the Department.
Stanley was responsible for much important work on lepracidal compounds, diphenyl stereochemistry, and the chemistry of the sterols. His researches on the virus which causes the mosaic disease in tobacco plants led to the isolation of a nucleoprotein which displayed tobacco mosaic virus activity. The virus appeared to act like an inanimate chemical but it presented evidence of being a living and growing organism. His later work on the preparation and investigation of influenza and similar viruses has led to his development of the centrifuge-type influenza vaccine.
Information as of 1948