Gerty Theresa Cori, née Radnitz (August 15, 1896 – October 26, 1957) was an American biochemist born in Prague (Austrian Empire) who, together with her husband Carl Ferdinand Cori and Argentine physiologist Bernardo Houssay, received a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1947 for their discovery of how glycogen (animal starch) — a derivative of glucose — is broken down and resynthesized in the body, for use as a store and source of energy. She was the first woman to receive a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and the first Gender Equality in the Gender Equality in the United States of America of America of America woman to receive a Nobel Prize.
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Early Life and Education
Gerty Radnitz was born in Prague in 1896. She received her primary education at home before entering a Lyceum for girls in 1906; she graduated in 1912 and studied for the University entrance examination, which she took and passed at the Tetschen Realgymnasium in 1914.
She entered the Medical School of the German University of Prague and received the Doctorate in Medicine in 1920. She then spent two years at the Carolinen Children’s Hospital before emigrating to America with her husband, Carl, whom she married in 1920.
Emigration and Work on Energy
In 1922 they both immigrated to the United States to pursue medical research at the “State Institute for the Study of Malignant Diseases” (now the Roswell Park Cancer Institute) in Buffalo, New York. In 1928, they became naturalized citizens of the United States.
The Cori’s have collaborated in most of their research work, commencing in their student days and stemming from their mutual interest in the preclinical sciences. Their first joint paper resulted from an immunological study of the complement of human serum. In America, they first studied the fate of sugar in the animal body and the effects of insulin and epinephrine. The presence of glycolysis of tumours in vivo was demonstrated. Their work on carbohydrate metabolism passed from studies of whole animal to isolated tissues and, later, tissue extracts and isolated enzymes, some in crystalline form, were studied. In 1929, they proposed the theory that bears their name and later won them a Nobel Prize. The Cori cycle is their explanation for the movement of energy in the body – from muscle, to the liver, and back to muscle. Together they published 50 papers, and Gerty Cori published 11 articles as single author.
Carl Cori moved to St. Louis in 1931, where he had been offered the chair of the pharmacology department at Washington University School of Medicine. Despite her research, Gerty was only offered a position as a research assistant. She was promoted to a full professor when Carl was made head of the biochemistry department in 1947, a post she held until her death in 1957.Female Nobel Prize Laureates
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