The Cori Cycle — the process of sugar metabolism — is named after husband-and-wife team Gerty Theresa Cori and Carl Ferdinand Cori (1896-1984), the couple responsible for helping us understand how cells use food and convert it to energy through a cyclical process in the muscles. Their landmark carbohydrate research not only led to the development of treatments for diabetes, it also made them winners of the 1947 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, and Gerty the first American woman Nobel laureate in science.
Born in Prague, Gerty Radnitz was one of few women to enter the Medical School of the German University of Prague. She met husband Carl in her first year and after graduation, the couple married. While Carl was afforded the opportunity to work at the University of Vienna’s medical clinic and Pharmacological Institute, Gerty could only work as assistant at the Karolinen Children’s hospital because of her gender.
In 1936, they discovered glucose-1-phosphate, a derivative of glucose, the form in which sugar, or glucose, is stored in muscles. Known as the Cori ester, it is an important part of the glucose conversion process. They also identified phosphorylase, the enzyme that breaks down glycogen in the Cori ester. Based on their findings, the Coris were able to show how muscle glycogen (the form in which sugar is stored in muscles) is broken down to lactic acid; transported to the liver, where it gets converted to glucose; then cycled back to the muscle to serve as an energy source.
In 1947 Gerty Cori became the third woman—and the first American woman—to win a Nobel Prize in science.
Coincidentally, Davin and Kellan's grandmother was one of the few female students at Washington University during this time from 1936 to 1940 and was the first in her family to attend and graduate from a university.
Exercise your Cori esters by sipping on our newest India Pale Ale: Gerty. Brewed with Simcoe, Amarillo, Ahtanum, Chinook, and Centennial hops; almost as complex as glucose-1-phosphate.