Carl Ferdinand Cori
Born(1896-12-05)December 5, 1896
DiedOctober 20, 1984(1984-10-20) (aged 87)
CitizenshipUnited States
Alma mater
Known forMetabolism of carbohydrates
(m. 1920; died 1957)
Anne Fitzgerald-Jones
(m. 1960)
Scientific career
InstitutionsWashington University in St. Louis
Carl Cori with his wife and fellow-Nobelist, Gerty Cori, in 1947

Carl Ferdinand Cori, ForMemRS[1] (December 5, 1896 – October 20, 1984) was a Czech-American biochemist and pharmacologist. He, together with his wife Gerty Cori and Argentine physiologist Bernardo Houssay, received a Nobel Prize in 1947 for their discovery of how the glucose derivative glycogen (animal starch) is broken down and resynthesized in the body for use as a store and source of energy.[2][3][4] In 2004, both Coris were designated a National Historic Chemical Landmark in recognition of their work that elucidated carbohydrate metabolism.[5][6][7][8]

Education and early life

Carl Ferdinand Cori was born on December 5, 1896, in Prague, Austria-Hungary (now the Czech Republic).[9][10] Carl was the son of Carl Isidor Cori (1865, Brüx – 1954, Vienna), a zoologist, and Maria Cori (née Lippich; 1870, Graz – 1922, Prague), a daughter of the Italian-Bohemian/Austrian/Slovenian /Hungarian physician Ferdinand Lippich [de; cs] (1838, Padua – 1913, Prague).[11][12]

The Cori family came from the Papal State (later the Roman Republic, today's Central Italy) to the royal Bohemian crownland, (Monarchical Austria at the end of the 17th century). Carl Ferdinand's grandfather Eduard Cori (1812–1889)[13] was an administrative officer and beekeeper in Brüx, and his grandmother was Rosina Trinks (?–1909).[14] Carl Ferdinand's younger sister Margarete Cori (born 1905) was a lecturer in Prague and the wife of the Bohemian geneticist Felix Mainx (1900, Prague – 1983, Vienna).[15]

He grew up in Trieste, where his father Carl Isidor 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 his future wife 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. Their only child, Tom, married Anne, a daughter of the American constitutional lawyer and anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly.[16]


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 Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center) in Buffalo, New York, and the Coris 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 Coris 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, making them the third ever married couple to win the Nobel Prize.

Gerty died in 1957 and Carl married Anne Fitzgerald-Jones (1909-2006) 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 member of the United States National Academy of Sciences in 1940,[20] a member of the American Philosophical Society in 1947,[21] a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences,[22] and a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 1950.[1] The Carl Cori Endowed Professorship at Washington University is named in his honor, currently held by Colin Nichols.[23]


  1. ^ a b c Randle, Philip (1986). "Carl Ferdinand Cori. 5 December 1896-20 October 1984". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 32: 66–95. doi:10.1098/rsbm.1986.0003. JSTOR 770108. PMID 11621260.
  2. ^ Cech, P. (2008). "Nobel Prize laureates". Časopis lékařů českých. 147 (7): 410–412. PMID 18678102.
  3. ^ Shampo, M. A.; Kyle, R. A. (2000). "Carl Cori—Nobel Laureate in Medicine or Physiology". Mayo Clinic Proceedings. 75 (12): 1274. doi:10.4065/75.12.1274. PMID 11126836.
  4. ^ 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. doi:10.1016/s0140-6736(05)76476-x. PMID 10199387. S2CID 54345835.
  5. ^ "Carl and Gerti Cori and Carbohydrate Metabolism". American Chemical Society. Archived from the original on January 12, 2013. Retrieved June 6, 2012.
  6. ^ Kenéz, J. (1977). "Liver glycogen and enzyme research (Carl Ferdinand CPORI)". Orvosi Hetilap. 118 (8): 463–465. PMID 320540.
  7. ^ Cori, C. F. (1969). "The Call of Science". Annual Review of Biochemistry. 38: 1–20. doi:10.1146/ PMID 4896237.
  8. ^ Carl Ferdinand CoriBiographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences
  9. ^ Cohn, M. (1992). "Carl Ferdinand Cori: December 5, 1896-October 19, 1984". Biographical Memoirs of the National Academy of Sciences. 61: 79–109. PMID 11616228.
  10. ^ Houssay, B. A. (1956). "Carl F. And Gerty T. Cori". Biochimica et Biophysica Acta. 20 (1): 11–16. doi:10.1016/0006-3002(56)90255-4. PMID 13315342.
  11. ^ Dolezal, Helmut. "Cori, Carl Isidor" in: Neue Deutsche Biographie 3 (1957), p. 360
  12. ^ [1], [2], [3]
  13. ^ [4], [5], commons:File:Anonym - Franz Eduard Cori.jpg
  14. ^ "Cori, Carl - Deutsche Biographie".
  15. ^ "Felix Mainx – Wien Geschichte Wiki". Archived from the original on 2017-02-02.
  16. ^ "Nobels All Around". National Review. 22 September 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2018.
  17. ^ Ginsberg, Judah (September 21, 2004). "Carl and Gerty Cori and Carbohydrate Metabolism". National Historic Chemical Landmark. American Chemical Society. Archived from the original on October 24, 2012. Retrieved August 28, 2012.
  18. ^ St. Louis Walk of Fame. "St. Louis Walk of Fame Inductees". Archived from the original on 31 October 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  19. ^ "Reply to a parliamentary question" (PDF) (in German). p. 73. Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  20. ^ "Carl F. Cori". Retrieved 2023-03-15.
  21. ^ "APS Member History". Retrieved 2023-03-15.
  22. ^ "Carl Ferdinand Cori". American Academy of Arts & Sciences. 9 February 2023. Retrieved 2023-03-15.
  23. ^ Colin G. Nichols named Carl F. Cori Professor Archived 2016-01-07 at the Wayback Machine, Washington University in St. Louis, 2007-02-21