The biochemist who came in from the cold
As a medical student, Laszlo Lorand saw a demonstration that left him amazed. He witnessed blood plasma turn from liquid into a solid clot within a matter of minutes, merely by the addition of a few drops of liquid containing the blood protein thrombin.
This rapid transformation had important life or death implications. While clot formation was essential for healing at sites of injury, if it occurred elsewhere in the body it could result in a fatal thrombosis, or circulatory blockage. Yet despite its physiological importance, how thrombin caused blood to clot remained a mystery, and it was one that Laszlo set out to solve.
In 1946, he joined the Institute of Biochemistry in Budapest, which was led by the Nobel laureate Albert Szent-Györgyi who was an inspirational figure to his staff and students...