Gerty Cori was born into a Jewish family in Prague on August 15, 1896. Encouraged as a child to study medicine, she attended the German University of Prague, and was one of very few female students in attendance. She graduated in 1920 with her M. D. degree.
Gerty married a classmate, Carl Cori, soon after graduation. They both worked in Vienna for some time, but moved to Buffalo, New York to avoid the oncoming war in Europe. There, Cori worked as an assistant pathologist. She and her husband eventually began studying together the metabolizing of glucose.
Gerty published eleven papers of her own, and collectively with her husband published fifty papers. They developed a theory, the “Cori Cycle,” which explains the movement of energy through the body. This theory won Cori and her husband a Nobel Prize. Gerty Cori was the third woman ever to win a Nobel Prize, and the first to do so in America.
Though both Gerty and her husband had developed the “Cori Cycle” together, Carl was the one who was offered countless jobs. Soon Carl took a high ranking job in Washington, and Gerty was offered a research assistant position, despite contributing greatly to the efforts that has won them the Nobel Prize.
Gerty maintained her research assistant position for sixteen years until she became a professor of biochemistry in 1947. The following year, she and her husband won the Nobel Prize once again, for research on glycogen.
Gerty Cori passed away on October 26, 1957 after a ten-year struggle with myelosclerosis. The Cori Crater on the moon is named in her honor.