Virginia Minnich was born January 24, 1910, in Zanesville, Ohio. She graduated with a bachelor's degree from Ohio State University in 1937 and earned a master's degree from Iowa State College in 1938. Minnich's expertise was in hematology and nutrition. She studied iron metabolism, platelet function, abnormal hemoglobins, thalassemia and morphology/hematology. Her work led to the discovery of hemoglobin E and the elucidation of the glutathionine synthesis pathway. She also created wide-ranging audiovisual programs on all aspects of blood and bone marrow, which have been used worldwide.
Minnich spent her entire medical career at Washington University School of Medicine, starting as a hematology research assistant in 1939. In 1958, she was promoted to research associate. She was elevated to full professor in 1974. Minnich spent 1964-65 in Turkey on a Fulbright Award. She was a member of the Foundation for Clinical Research, the American Society of Hematology and the International Society of Hematology.