Gerty Cori

Picture of Gerty Cori

Date of Birth: 08/15/1896

Age: 61

Place of birth: Prague

Citizenship: United States


There she met a medical student Carl F. Cori, which conducted joint studies of serum complement - complex of serum proteins involved in immune reactions. In 1917 ... 1918. she worked at the German university medical laboratory assistant, and in 1920 received a medical degree. In the same year she married Charles Cory. Soon after the wedding, Cory moved to Vienna. Here two years K. worked as an assistant in the Children`s Hospital Karolinska studying cretinism (congenital deficiency of the thyroid gland). In 1922, Carl Corey was appointed biochemist at the New York State Institute of malignancies (hereinafter named Roswell Park Institute) in Buffalo (NY). Based in Buffalo, Carl Corey found at the Institute for the wife of an assistant pathologist later she began working there as an assistant biochemist. Soon Corey again started joint research. Since they are particularly interested in carbohydrate metabolism in normal tissues and tissues of malignant tumors during the first years of operation in Buffalo, they focused on the study of carbohydrate metabolism in tumor cells. In addition, they studied the effect of ovariectomy (surgical removal of ovaries) on the growth of such cells.

In 1928, the wife of Corey became an American citizen, and three years later moved to St. Louis (Missouri) to work in the medical school at Washington University. Here K. was appointed school board member and researcher in pharmacology and biochemistry, and her husband - a professor of pharmacology. Continuing to study the metabolism of carbohydrates, Corey emphasized the biochemistry of glucose and glycogen. Glycogen was discovered in 1857 by the French physiologist Claude Bernard, who found in liver cells of experimental animals krahmalopodobnogo a large number of substances. Glycogen is composed of glucose chains combined in molecules and biochemical represents the main form in which glucose is stored in the liver and muscles. Glucose - the main source of energy for cellular activity, it is a monosaccharide consisting of hydrogen, oxygen and carbon.

The food starch is composed of two polysaccharides - amylose and amylopectin into glucose by the action of pancreatic amylase enzyme. Further glucose is absorbed in the small intestine, it falls into the portal vessels and transferred to the liver where it is converted into glycogen and stored for later use. In studies conducted at 30 ... 40 s., Corey disclosed biochemical reactions involved in the conversion of glucose into glycogen and back. A complete cycle of the interconversion currently called Corey cycle.

In 1936, Corey found glucose-1-phosphate, which was subsequently named Corey ether. . Later, in the 30s, Corey established biochemical mechanism of action of insulin - a hormone synthesized and produced by the islet cells of the pancreas. With a lack of insulin occurs diabetes - a disease in which glucose can not be absorbed properly by cells and used them as an energy source.

By studying the conversion of glucose into glycogen, Corey described first transition of glucose-6-phosphate to glucose-1-phosphate (reverse process) under the action of the enzyme phosphoglucomutase; This discovery was made in 1938 The five years later in the allocation in crystalline form and purification of the enzyme phosphorylase they found that this enzyme exists in both active and inactive forms, which are called respectively phosphorylase a and phosphorylase b. Then they established the biochemical conditions, unto which the activation of the inactive form occurs.

In 1944, Corey glycogen synthesized in vitro. As starting materials, they have glycogen molecule with short chain glucose, phosphate and three enzymes - hexokinase, phosphorylase and phosphoglucomutase. This confirmed the hypothesis of a three-step biosynthetic pathway of glycogen from glucose. Further K. discovered another enzyme involved in the synthesis and decomposition of hepatic glycogen branched forms and plant cells. In the same year she was appointed associate professor of biochemistry in the School of Medicine at Washington University, and three years later became a professor of biochemistry.

In 1947, the couple Corey was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for his discovery of the catalytic conversion of glycogen". This award they shared with the Argentine physiologist Bernardo Usaem. In his congratulatory speech researcher at the Karolinska Institute, Hugo Theorell pointed out that "for chemists ultimate proof way of education material is its synthesis. Prof. Dr. Corey and surprising result achieved - they are able to synthesize glycogen in vitro by a set of enzymes which are isolated in pure form, thus revealing the mechanism of their actions. With only one organic chemistry techniques this would be impossible as ... Enzymes obtained Corey possible to carry out this synthesis, as they catalyze certain reactions of chemical bond formation. " Theorell added that the opening of the spouses Corey enzymatic mechanism of glucose reversible transformation is "one of the most brilliant achievements of modern biochemistry."

Further studies revealed the chemical structure Corey glycogen and in the early 50-ies. established biochemical disturbances that underlie the glycogen storage. In these diseases in the cells of the liver and other tissues, glycogen accumulates in quantities much greater than usual. K. showed that in fact glycogenoses are a group of diseases related to the lack of certain enzymes.

In his later years he suffered K. mielosklerozom - prolonged severe disease in which the bone marrow is gradually replaced by fibrous connective tissue. She died in 1957 in Glendale (Missouri). After the death of K. scientists from all over the United States gathered at a memorial service in St. Louis. They listened to a tape recording that K. made for television movie Edward Murrow, "What do I believe." "In the life of a scientist - said K., - are memorable and rare moments when, after many years of hard work with the veil of the mysteries of nature suddenly falls and what seemed plunged into darkness and chaos will become bright and harmonious." I usay once said that life K. was "a perfect example of service to the ideals of ... the progress of science and the good of mankind."

Collaboration Cory was not confined to the laboratory walls. Both were great lovers of hiking, backpacking in the Austrian Alps, and in the American Rockies. In addition, they liked to play tennis, skating and work in the garden. In the family they had one son.

K. was awarded Squibb Endocrine Society (together with Carl Cori) (1947), Medal of the American Chemical Society, Harvey (1948) and Borden Award for medical research by the American Association of Medical Colleges (1951). She was a member of the American Society of Biochemistry, National Academy of Sciences, the American Chemical Society and the American Philosophical Society. K. was awarded honorary degrees from Boston, Yale, Columbia and the University of Rochester, and Smith College.