Gerty Cori was born in Prague in 1896. In 1920, she received her medical degree at the University of Prague, and then moved to Vienna with her husband, Carl. Shortly thereafter, the Coris settled in the United States and began work at Washington University in St. Louis. They undertook research there on the metabolism of carbohydrates, especially glucose and glycogen.
In 1947, Gerty and Carl Cori were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or medicine “for their discovery of the course of the catalytic conversion of glycogen”.
Glycogen is composed of interconnected glucose molecules. A cyclical process occurs in the body whereby the glucose is converted into glycogen and stored there for future use. When required, glycogen is once again converted into glucose and used to provide energy to the cells of the body.
In 1944, the Coris succeeded in synthesizing glycogen in the laboratory. This confirmed their hypothesis regarding its method of production in the body.
During her last years, Gerty Cori suffered from a serious illness that led to her death in 1957.