Issue Date: March 6, 2008
City: New York, NY
Gerty Radnitz Cori (1896-1957) became the first American woman to receive the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1947. She shared the prize with her husband, Carl Cori, and B.A. Houssay of Argentina.
The Coris' met at Charles University in Prague, while earning Doctorates in Medicine. Gerty was Jewish, and in 1922, with war looming in Europe, the two emigrated to Buffalo, New York. There they worked as a research team at the State Institute for the Study of Malignant Diseases (later Roswell Park Cancer Institute). They became U.S. citizens in 1928, and together published 50 research papers while at Buffalo, including the one that earned them the Nobel Prize. Their discovery, showing how carbohydrates are metabolized in the body, was named the Cori Cycle after them.
When the couple decided to leave Buffalo, Carl was offered many university positions, but Gerty, as a female, was not. The Coris' moved to St. Louis, Missouri, in 1931, after accepting positions at Washington University School of Medicine. In 1947, Gerty was diagnosed with myelofibrosis, but continued her research for 10 more years. The Cori Crater on the Moon was named for her.
Gerty Cori was honored with a 2008 U.S. 41¢ stamp in the second se-tenant block of four of the American Scientists Series.