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Carl Ferdinand Cori

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Title: Carl Ferdinand Cori  
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Subject: Gerty Cori, Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, List of Nobel laureates by university affiliation, First Faculty of Medicine, Charles University in Prague, Bernardo Houssay
Collection: 1896 Births, 1984 Deaths, 20Th-Century Austrian People, 20Th-Century Czech People, American Biochemists, American Nobel Laureates, Austrian Biochemists, Austrian Nobel Laureates, Austro-Hungarian Emigrants to the United States, Austro-Hungarian People, Burials at Mount Auburn Cemetery, Charles University in Prague Alumni, Czech Biochemists, Czech Nobel Laureates, Foreign Members of the Royal Society, Harvard University People, Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine, People from Buffalo, New York, People from Prague, Recipients of the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research, Recipients of the Austrian Decoration for Science and Art, Washington University in St. Louis Faculty
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Carl Ferdinand Cori

Carl Cori
Carl Ferdinand Cori
Born Carl Ferdinand Cori
(1896-12-05)December 5, 1896
Died October 20, 1984(1984-10-20) (aged 87)
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Nationality Austrian-Hungarian
Fields biochemist
Institutions Washington University in St. Louis
Alma mater
Known for Metabolism of carbohydrates
Influenced Arthur Kornberg[1]
Notable awards
Carl Cori with his wife and fellow-Nobelist, Gerty Cori, in 1947.

Carl Ferdinand Cori, ForMemRS[2] (December 5, 1896 – October 20, 1984) was a Czech biochemist and pharmacologist born in Prague[3][4] (then in Austria-Hungary, now Czech Republic) who, together with his wife Gerty Cori and Argentine physiologist Bernardo Houssay, received a Nobel Prize in 1947[5][6][7][8][9] for their discovery of how glycogen (animal starch) – a derivative of glucose – is broken down and resynthesized in the body, for use as a store and source of energy. In 2004 both were designated a National Historic Chemical Landmark in recognition of their work that elucidated carbohydrate metabolism.[10][11][12][13][14] [15]


  • Education and early life 1
  • Career 2
  • Awards and honors 3
  • References 4

Education and early life

Carl was the son of Carl Isidor Cori (1865–1954), a zoologist, and Maria née Lippich (1870–1922).[16] He grew up in Trieste, where his father was the director of the Marine Biological Station. In late 1914 the Cori family moved to Prague and Carl entered the medical school of Charles University in Prague. While studying there he met Gerty Theresa Radnitz. He was drafted into the Austro-Hungarian Army and served in the ski corps, and later was transferred to the sanitary corps, for which he set up a laboratory in Trieste. At the end of the war Carl completed his studies, graduating with Gerty in 1920. Carl and Gerty married that year and worked together in clinics in Vienna.


Carl was invited to Graz to work with Otto Loewi to study the effect of the vagus nerve on the heart (Loewi would receive the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1936 for this work). While Carl was in Graz, Gerty remained in Vienna. A year later Carl was offered a position at the State Institute for the Study of Malignant Diseases (now the Roswell Park Cancer Institute) in Buffalo, New York and the Cori's moved to Buffalo. In 1928, they became naturalized citizens of the United States.

While at the Institute the Coris’ research focused on carbohydrate metabolism, leading to the definition of the Cori cycle in 1929. In 1931 Carl accepted a position at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri. Carl joined as professor of pharmacology and in 1942 was made professor of biochemistry. In St. Louis, the Cori's continued their research on glycogen and glucose and began to describe glycogenolysis, identifying and synthesizing the important enzyme glycogen phosphorylase. For these discoveries, they received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1947.

Gerty died in 1957 and Carl married Anne Fitz-Gerald Jones in 1960. He stayed on at Washington University until 1966, when he retired as chair of the biochemistry department. He was appointed visiting professor of Biological Chemistry at Harvard University while maintaining a laboratory space at the Massachusetts General Hospital, where he pursued research in genetics. From 1968 to 1983 he collaborated with noted geneticist Salomé Glüecksohn-Waelsch of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, until the 1980s when illness prevented him from continuing.[17] In 1976 Carl received the Laurea honoris causa in Medicine from the University of Trieste. Carl shares a star with Gerty on the St. Louis Walk of Fame[18]

Awards and honors

In addition to winning the Nobel Prize, Cori won the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research in 1946 and in 1959, the Austrian Decoration for Science and Art.[19] Cori was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 1950[2] and the Carl Cori Endowed Professorship at Washington University is named in his honor, currently held by Colin Nichols.[20]


  1. ^ Kornberg, A. (2001). "Remembering our teachers". The Journal of Biological Chemistry 276 (1): 3–11.  
  2. ^ a b c  
  3. ^ Cohn, M. (1992). "Carl Ferdinand Cori: December 5, 1896-October 19, 1984". Biographical memoirs. National Academy of Sciences (U.S.) 61: 79–109.  
  4. ^ Houssay, B. A. (1956). "Carl F. And Gerty T. Cori". Biochimica et Biophysica Acta 20 (1): 11–16.  
  5. ^ Cech, P. (2008). "Nobel Prize laureates". Casopis lekaru ceskych 147 (7): 410–412.  
  6. ^ Cech, P. (2001). "The Coris, a married couple native to Prague and Nobel laureates". Casopis lekaru ceskych 140 (1): 26–30.  
  7. ^ Shampo, M. A.; Kyle, R. A. (2000). "Carl Cori—Nobel Laureate in Medicine or Physiology". Mayo Clinic Proceedings 75 (12): 1274.  
  8. ^ Raju, T. N. (1999). "The Nobel Chronicles. 1947: Carl Ferdinand Cori (1896-1984); Gerty Theresa Radnitz Cori (1896-1957); and Bernardo Alberto Houssay (1887-1971)". Lancet 353 (9158): 1108.  
  9. ^ Sulek, K. (1968). "Nobel prize for Carl Ferdinand Cori and Gerta Theresa Cori in 1947 for discovery of the course of catalytic metabolism of glycogen. Prize for Alberto Bernardo Houssay for discovery on the role of the hypophysis in carbohydrate metabolism". Wiadomosci lekarskie (Warsaw, Poland : 1960) 21 (17): 1609–1610.  
  10. ^ "Carl and Gerti Cori and Carbohydrate Metabolism".  
  11. ^ Kenéz, J. (1977). "Liver glycogen and enzyme research (Carl Ferdinand CPORI)". Orvosi hetilap 118 (8): 463–465.  
  12. ^ Cori, C. F. (1969). "The Call of Science". Annual Review of Biochemistry 38: 1–20.  
  13. ^ Carl Ferdinand Cori — Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences
  14. ^ Ihde, A.J. Cori, Carl Ferdinand, and Gerty Theresa Radnitz Cori. American National Biography Online Feb 2000.
  15. ^ Carl and Gerti Cori and Carbohydrate Metabolism from American Chemical Society National Historic Chemical Landmarks
  16. ^ Dolezal, Helmut, "Cori, Carl Isidor" in: Neue Deutsche Biographie 3 (1957), p. 360
  17. ^ Ginsberg, Judah (September 21, 2004). "Carl and Gerty Cori and Carbohydrate Metabolism". National Historic Chemical Landmark.  
  18. ^ St. Louis Walk of Fame. "St. Louis Walk of Fame Inductees". Retrieved 25 April 2013. 
  19. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (pdf) (in German). p. 73. Retrieved 28 December 2012. 
  20. ^ Colin G. Nichols named Carl F. Cori Professor, Washington University in St. Louis, 2007-02-21
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