ASBMB Past Presidents

1919-1920 – Stanley R. Benedict




Stanley Rossiter Benedict was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and attended the University of Cincinnati, from which he received a B.A. in 1906. After graduation he continued his studies in the Department of Physiological Chemistry at Yale University with Russell H. Chittenden and Lafayette B. Mendel. Upon receiving his Ph.D. from Yale in 1908, Benedict spent a year as instructor in chemistry at Syracuse University in New York, followed by a year as associate in biological chemistry at Columbia University. In 1910, he was appointed assistant professor of chemical pathology at Cornell University Medical College in New York City and was later promoted to professor of chemistry and chairman of the department in 1913. He remained at Cornell until his death.

Benedict's major contributions to biochemistry were in the devising of analytical methods. Benedict developed precise techniques that made it possible to learn the chemical processes of the human body and made chemical analysis an important tool in the diagnosis and treatment of disease. He was well known for his development of a much improved modification of the classical Fehling test for sugar in urine. This work was featured in a Journal of Biological Chemistry Classic (1). The reagent, known as Benedict's solution, was used as the reagent of choice for measuring sugar content for more than 50 years. Benedict was also interested in cancer research, and he was one of the first investigators to attempt (although unsuccessfully) the modification of experimental tumor growth by metabolic approaches. Benedict was active in the Society and the Journal of Biological Chemistry. He served as secretary of the American Society of Biological Chemists and from 1919 to 1920 served as president. During his tenure as president, the Journal of Biological Chemistry was transferred to the Society for management. Benedict became a member of the Journal of Biological Chemistry editorial board and in 1926 became managing editor, a position he held until his death in 1936. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1924.

1. Simoni, R. D., Hill, R. L., and Vaughan, M. (2002)Benedict's Solution, a Reagent for Measuring Reducing Sugars: the Clinical Chemistry of Stanley R. Benedict J. Biol. Chem. 277 (16)