Today we’re going to talk about a very special woman named Gerty Cori. Those of you who’ve ever had a biochemistry course have probably already heard of the Cori cycle to which this woman contributed to. So let’s talk about her!
Gerty Theresa Radnitz was her maiden name. She was born in 1847 in what is now known as Czech-Republic. She got admitted to medical school at the Karl-Franz university in 1914 where she met her husband Carl Cori.
Due to anti-semitism in Europe the couple moved to the U.S. and became naturalized citizens. They both worked in a laboratory and investigated the carbohydrate metabolism.
What’s quite striking is that universities wanted Carl Cori to work for them, but not Gerty. Despite these unfortunate events they kept working together however it took Gerti longer to get the same wage and position as her husband had. She was made a professor in 1943 at Washington university (where she’d worked since 1931).
They discovered the Cori cycle for which they got half of the Nobel Prize in medicine or physiology in 1947. The other half went to Bernardo Houssay.
The Cori cycle describes how glycogen is converted to lactic acid and then reconverted to glucose.
She died in 1957 due to myelosclerosis.