It would be unjust to say that scientists don’t depend on happy coincidences. But it needs much more than that to make a truly groundbreaking discovery.
Curiosity and persistence are the basis for successful science. In this video, CellNetworks member Prof. Dr. Friedrich Frischknecht makes a plea for the liberty of science and the merits that can be gained if researchers are able to work with a free mind.
Frischknecht works at the Center for Infectious Diseases at Heidelberg University and is interested in the motility of the malaria parasite. Interestingly, the deadly single-cell organism adopts different shapes and travels at different speeds during its journey from the salivary glands of the mosquito into the liver of the human body where it eventually multiplies and infects the red blood cells.
During a microscopy experiment, he and his team accidentally squashed the salivary glands of the mosquito and set the parasites free. Once outside, they grouped together and started to move in whirls – a discovery they had no expected but which told them that the movement patterns of the parasites seem to be essential for a malaria infection. Their surprising findings gave way for further investigation.