Frank R. Lillie was born in Toronto, Canada, on 27 June 1870. His mother was Emily Ann Rattray and his father was George Waddell Little, an accountant and co-owner of a wholesale drug company. While in high school Lillie took up interests in entomology and paleontology but went to the University of Toronto with the aim of studying ministry. He slowly became disillusioned with this career choice and decided to major in the natural sciences.
In 1888 when students and investigators arrived in Woods Hole for the inaugural session of the
James David Ebert studied the developmental processes of chicks and of viruses in the US during the twentieth century.