The first married couple to win a Nobel Prize in science was Gerty Theresa Radnitz Cori and her husband, Dr. Carl Cori. Gerty Cori was the third woman to ever receive a Nobel Prize and was America's first woman to do so.
Born in 1896 to Otto Radnitz and Martha Neustadt in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Her uncle persuaded her to attend medical school, she attended the German University of Prague, where only a few female students were admitted. She graduated with an M.D. Degree with her classmate Carl Cori in 1920. Shortly after graduation, they married and were employed to work in medical clinics in Vienna. Because of her gender, Gerty could only work as an assistant at the Karolinen Children's Hospital. Realizing that Europe was on the verge of entering a war, they began applying for jobs abroad.
Both moved to Buffalo, New York in 1922, where Carl was employed as an assistant pathologist at the State Institute for the Study of Malignant Diseases (currently the Roswell Park Memorial Institute). Both were prevented from working together while at Roswell but did so anyway, devoting their attention to how energy is generated and distributed within the human body.
They proposed the theory in 1929 which bears their name, and later they received a Nobel Prize for it. The "Cori Cycle" shows how the energy transfer occurs in the body — from muscle to the liver, then back to the muscle. When energy is required to fuel physical activity, glycogen in the muscles is converted to sugar ( glucose), but the muscles retain some of the sugar as lactic acid, for later use. The liver recycles the lactic acid into glycogen, this is then retained in the muscles before the need occurs. The Cori Cycle was particularly useful for diabetes treatments, but it was the first time the cycle of carbohydrates that occurs in the human body had been fully understood and explained.
They decided to leave Roswell because Roswell's research was mainly cancer-based. Even though their work was collaborative, only Carl Cori received recognition and job offers at institutions. The University of Rochester told Gerty she would ruin her husband's career, the couple still persevered to work together. The couple moved to St. Louis in 1931 after being denied at Cornell University and the University of Toronto.
Carl had been appointed chair of the pharmacology department at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Despite her collaborative involvement in discovering the Cori Cycle, Gerty Cori was only offered a job as a research assistant. For seventeen years Gerty Cori worked as a research associate as her husband, Carl Cori, moved up the ranks of the Washington University School of Medicine. When Carl Cori became chairman of the new department of biochemistry in 1946 Gerty Cori was promoted to full professor.
In 1947 they won the Nobel Prize for discovering the enzymes that convert glycogen to sugar and vice versa. They won numerous awards for isolating and discovering the compound glucose-1 phosphate (later named the Cori ester) and the Cori Cycle.
Craters on the Moon and on Venus are in her name
Otto Radnitz, Gerty’s father, was a chemist and he invented a method for refining sugar