Rita Levi-Montalcini
rita levi-Montalcini.jpg
Levi-Montalcini was a biologist. A biologist is someone who studies living organisms. She Rita Levi-Montalcini helped improve knowledge of human cells. Her research helped improve the cancer. She was forced to keep work secret from Italy's Fascist regime.

22 April 1909


30 December 2012 (aged 103)

Rome, Italy

Place of Birth
She was born in Turin, Kingdom of Italy.

Known for
When the death of Giovanna, the Levi-Montalcini's house-keeper accrues, she decides to dedicate her life to medicine. She discovered critical chemical tools that the body uses to direct cell growth and build nerve networks, opening the way for the study of how those processes can go wrong in diseases like cancer.

Science Explained
Rita Levi-Montalcini experimented with medicine. She found something new called the Nerve Growth Factor or NGF for short. She won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. This happened in 1986.

She studied medicine at the University of Turin and did research there on the effects that peripheral tissues have on nerve cell growth. NGF was the first of many cell-growth factors to be found in the bodies of animals. It plays an important role in the growth of nerve cells and fibers in the peripheral nervous system.

Did you know?
  • She got the prize for physiology or medicine in 1986 for her discovery of a bodily substance that stimulates and influences the growth of nerve cells.
  • Levi- Montalcini became the fourth woman ever to be awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.

  • because of her Jewish ancestry, she was not able to resume her research at Turin until after the war.

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  • Steve Nolan. Mail Online. Associated Newspapers Ltd.
  • Susan Tyler Hitchcock. Rita Levi-Montalcini : Nobel Prize winner.
    Philadelphia : Chelsea House, 2005
  • Wikimedia Foundation Inc. Wikipedia. 2013. Web. Sept. 2, 2013