When the Ebola outbreak began, Dr. Arntzen was using these tobacco plants to attempt to amplify antibodies that had come from mice, in order to use a form of this as a vaccine for humans that had become infected. He found that inserting the antibodies into the tobacco plants, as it had always been done to form a vaccine, was a slow-going process. He revolutionized the field by using viruses to infect the tobacco plants instead. By hiding the antibodies within the virus, the tobacco plants began to produce an exponential amount of antibodies as the infection spread throughout the plant. These antibodies went on to form the vaccine ZMapp, which is an extremely promising drug against Ebola. Although not yet FDA approved, this alternative way of producing the vaccine could save many lives all over the world as Ebola continues to infect others.
As a project that had begun after the 9/11 attacks with the thoughts of the nation on terrorism, Dr. Arntzen and his team were able to quickly produce antibodies in tobacco plants in the event that there was an attack via bioterrorism. Conveniently, they had produced antibodies for Ebola in the years following 9/11 that were used to treat a handful of patients in the 2014 outbreak.
Dr. Arntzen is creative through his discovery of this extremely useful innovation and this creativity appears to stem from his personality and how he approached the problem. In watching videos of how he accomplishes his work, I am able to identify a handful of Sternberg's personality characteristics. Dr. Arntzen falls under the integration and intellectuality category as he listens to multiple approaches to the problem and then discovers the best solution through a combination of these thoughts. He also falls under the decisional skill and flexibility category. When he speaks about his research team and how the discovery occurred, he indicated that the research went back and forth quite a few times, in slightly different directions before they discovered the right path to quickly reproduce this antibody for Ebola. However, he continued to follow his gut instinct in order to make the correct discovery of the insertion of the virus into the tobacco plant.
When thinking of a creative person, many people will not have a scientist come to mind. However, if we did not have people like Dr. Arntzen creatively discovering new ways to quickly and effectively produce vaccines, many more people could be at risk for certain diseases. Remember that scientists can be creative too, just not in what most would define as "conventional."
https://vimeo.com/127319051 (video on development of vaccine)
https://vimeo.com/127319986 (video on working with others)