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The Passion to overcome Hurdles – Women in STEM



“For a research worker the unforgotten moments of his life are those rare ones which come after years of plodding work, when the veil over natures secret seems suddenly to lift & when what was dark & chaotic appears in a clear & beautiful light & pattern.” – famously spoken by Gerty Theresa Cori, an Austro-Hungarian-American biochemist, widely recognized for becoming the 1st woman to be awarded the Nobel prize in Physiology and Medicine.

for her significant role in the "discovery of the course of the catalytic conversion of glycogen", better known as Cori cycle.


Led by her passion for Science and Medicine at 16, she was determined to be a medical doctor for which she completed equivalents of 8 years of Latin, 5 years of science and 5 years of mathematics in a year. Growing up at a time when women were marginalized in science and allowed few educational opportunities, Gerty laid down the path for future generations of women to follow. Overcoming gender bias by not being granted the same opportunities, recognition as her research and life partner Carl Cori; it took Gerty 13 years to stand on the same pedestal as him, when Carl himself had stated that Gerty was an extremely talented researcher more so than him. During their stay in the US, they worked together in Roswell and published a couple of papers. In 1929, they proposed the theoretical cycle that later won them the Nobel Prize, the Cori cycle.

She fought with myelosclerosis, a fatal disease of the bone marrow for 10 long years but still she continued her research work, only in the final months did she let up.

On this International women’s day, Promea Therapeutics celebrates Gerty Cori and the many more women like her that cemented their contributions, became an inspiration for many, and opened the way for women in STEM.


Tailpiece: Only 35% of STEM students in higher education globally are women, and differences are observed within STEM disciplines. Strengthening the capacity of communities to deliver gender-responsive STEM education, including through teacher training, educational contents and pedagogy as well as enhancing the awareness of the importance of STEM education for girls and women is crucial to ensure equal opportunities to all.

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