Gerty Cori

Cheers to this WiSE Wednesday’s leading lady! Gerty Cori was the first American woman to win a Nobel Prize in science and the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine. Gerty was a Czech-American biochemist that was born in Prague. She grew up in a time where women were marginalized in science and allowed few educational opportunities. However, she was admitted to medical school, the Karl-Ferdinands Universitat, where she graduated in 1920. She moved, along with her husband, to America in 1922. She then began working at the “State Institute for the Study of Malignant Diseases”, known today as the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York. Though she published numerous research findings with her husband, as well as on her own, she had a hard time finding research positions and a fair wage. Her husband insisted on continuing their collaboration despite the institution's discouragement. Gerti Cori and her husband received the Nobel Prize in 1947 for discovering the mechanism by which glycogen is broken down in muscle tissue to form lactic acid, and it's reabsorption process. This cycle is now known as the Cori cycle. Thanks Gerty!