Scientist Spotlight: Gerty Cori

I missed it by a day! Yesterday, August 15, would have been Gerty Theresa Cori’s (née Radnitz) 120th birthday! Gerty was born in Prague and attended school there. In 1920, she received the Doctorate of Medicine from the Medical School of the German University of Prague. In the same year she married Carl Ferdinand Cori. After spending two years at the Carolinen Children’s Hospital, Gerty and Carl moved to the United States.

The Coris collaborated in most of their research. They studied sugar in the animal body, effects of insulin, actions of hormones, among many other topics. Their main interest was how the body uses energy. The Coris depicted what is known as the Cori Cycle, a significant part of the body’s physical and mechanical processes.

They began their metabolic research in Buffalo but because Cori was a woman she employed on “less favorable terms” than her husband. The couple was then offered positions in Saint Louis, so they moved to Missouri. It was there where Cori became a Professor of Biochemistry.

Together, they were presented many awards and honorary degrees. Gerty also received many awards independently including the Sugar Research Prize (1950), Broden Award (1951), and an honorary Doctor of Science Degree from Yale (1951) among many others.

Arguably, their most notable award  was the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine which they won in 1947. The award was split between the Coris and Bernardo Alberto Houssay. Gerty was the third woman to win a Nobel Prize in science, and the first to win a Novel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

To learn more about Gerty Cori visit nobelprize.org.

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