Schistosomiasis is caused by a parasitic flatworm about which little is known. Therefore, options to combat human disease caused by schistosome infection are limited. To aid in our quest to develop treatments, two studies undertook molecular investigations of the parasite Schistosoma mansoni. By generating a single-cell atlas, Wendt et al. identified the developmental trajectory of the flatworm, including the blood-feeding gut required for its survival in the host. From these data, they found a gene required for gut development that, when knocked out through RNA interference, confers reduced pathology in infected mice. Wang et al. performed a large-scale RNA interference survey of S. mansoni and identified an essential pair of protein kinases that can be targeted by approved pharmacological intervention (see the Perspective by Anderson and Duraisingh). These molecular investigations add to our understanding of the schistosome parasite and provide biological information that may help to combat this neglected tropical disease.