Just as the job prospects seemed hopeless, Fernandus Payne, the former Morgan student and a longtime IU faculty member, pushed for the university to offer Muller a job. Payne, who was Dean of the University Graduate School and chair of the zoology department, had cultivated an excellent genetics program and knew they would benefit from Muller’s experience and expertise. IU’s president Herman B Wells was worried about Muller’s political past, but with Payne’s urging, ultimately embraced the opportunity to acquire such an eminent scientist. The papers of both Payne and Wells can be found in the Indiana University Archives.
Muller would stay at Indiana University for almost the rest of his career. He was far from the only established scientist in the program and his colleagues included the botanist Ralph Cleland, the microbiologist Tracy Sonneborn, the biologist-turned-sexologist Alfred Kinsey, and the future Nobel Prize winning bacteriologist Salvadore Luria. Muller arrived in Bloomington in the summer of 1945 and set up a sprawling Drosophila lab in Science Hall (now Lindley Hall).