Rita Levi Montalcini

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Rita Levi Montalcini

"Born in Turin to a Sephardic Jewish family, together with her twin sister Paola she was the youngest of four children. Her parents were Adamo Levi, an electrical engineer and gifted mathematician, and Adele Montalcini, a talented painter described by Levi-Montalcini as "an exquisite human being."

"She enrolled in the Turin medical school in 1930, studying with Giuseppe Levi and graduating summa cum laude in 1936, and then enrolled in a three year specialisation in neurology and psychiatry. She went to work as Levi's assistant, but her academic career was cut short by Benito Mussolini's 1938 Manifesto della Razza and the subsequent introduction of laws barring prohibiting non-Aryan Italian citizens from academic and professional careers.

"From 1961 to 1969 she directed the Research Center of Neurobiology of the CNR (Rome), and from 1969 to 1978 the Laboratory of Cellular Biology.

"In 1986, Dr. Rita Levi-Montalcini and her colleague, Dr. Stanley Cohen (b. 1937), won the Nobel Prize in medicine for the discoveries of NGF (nerve growth factor), a substance found in malignant tumors that causes nerve fibers to grow rapidly, and of EGF (epidermal growth factor), which is used in the treatment of severe burns.

"On August 1, 2001 she was appointed Senator-for-life by the then President of the Italian Republic, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi. She actively takes part in Upper House discussions, unless busy in academic activities around the world." [1]

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References

  1. Honorary Board, Green Cross International, accessed August 3, 2008.