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Gerty Cori
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Scientist
    (August 15, 1896-October 26, 1957)
    Born in Prague, Czech Republic
    Birth name was Gerty Theresa Radnitz
    Married fellow biochemist Carl Cori (1920)
    Became a naturalized US citizen (1928)
    Together studied carbohydrate metabolism
    Jointly discovered the Cori cycle (aka lactic acid cycle) in which sugars are broken down in the muscles to produce lactic acid, which is transported to the liver and used to synthesize new sugars
    Co-recipient (with her husband and Argentine physiologist Bernardo Houssay) of the Nobel Prize in Medicine (1947)
    She chain smoked and 'dropped cigarette ashes constantly.'
    The institutions that employed Carl discouraged him from collaborating with her.
    When the USPS honored her on a stamp, the stamp showed the wrong formula for the 'Cori ester' (glucose-1-phosphate, an intermediate compound in the breakdown of glycogen that she and her husband discovered).
    Her hobbies included mountain climbing.
    She suffered severe malnutrition in post-WWI Europe.
    When her husband was hired as a professor by the School of Medicine at Washington University, she was offered a position as a research assistant at a tenth of his salary.
    She was promoted to full professor shortly before she won the Nobel Prize.
    She was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize in Medicine, and the third woman to win a Nobel Prize in the sciences.
    She continued her research while suffering from myelosclerosis, a fatal cancer of the bone marrow.

Credit: C. Fishel


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