Levi-Montalcini, Rita

(1909– ). An eminent neurobiologist, Rita Levi-Montalcini won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1986 for her groundbreaking work on nerve growth factor (NGF), a protein that governs the development and differentiation of nerve cells. The Nobel foundation said that the discovery of NGF was a classic example of how an “acute observer” can “extrapolate a clear theory from apparent chaos.”
   The Nobel prize was the climax of a glittering career that had begun in harsh circumstances. Deprived of her university position by the 1938 racial laws, Levi-Montalcini was forced to flee first to Belgium, then (after the Nazi invasion of that country in 1940) to a clandestine refuge in Florence for the duration of the war. After the city was liberated she worked as a doctor until 1947 when, at the age of almost 40, she got the chance to go to Washington University, Missouri, as a researcher. She stayed at Washington until retirement in 1977, although from 1961 onward she combined her professorship with the directorship of the Italian Institute of Cell Biology. LeviMontalcini continued to do original work in neurobiology until well into the 1990s.
   Levi-Montalcini was the first woman to be president of the Enciclopedia Italiana and, in recent years, has been active in promoting environmentalism and the cause of women’s rights. In August 2001, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi made her senator for life of the Italian Republic. This has proved to be no sinecure. In May 2006, the newly formed government of Romano Prodi survived its initial vote of confidence in Parliament thanks to her vote.
   See also Dulbecco, Renato.

Historical Dictionary of Modern Italy. . 2007.

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  • LEVI-MONTALCINI, RITA — (1911– ), neurobiologist, Nobel Prize winner. Levi Montalcini was born in Italy and grew up in Turin. She earned her degree in medicine at the University of Turin where she was employed until 1939 when she was barred by the Fascists from… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Levi-Montalcini , Rita — (1909–) Italian cell biologist Levi Montalcini was educated at the university in her native city of Turin, graduating from medical school just before the outbreak of World War II. Being of Italian Jewish descent, she found that posts in Italy s… …   Scientists

  • Levi-Montalcini, Rita — ▪ Italian American neurologist born April 22, 1909, Turin, Italy       neurologist who, with biochemist Stanley Cohen (Cohen, Stanley), shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1986 for her discovery of a bodily substance that… …   Universalium

  • Levi-Montalcini,Rita — Le·vi Mon·tal·ci·ni (lēʹvē mŏn tl chēʹnē, lĕʹvē mōn täl ), Rita. Born 1909. Italian born developmental biologist. She shared a 1986 Nobel Prize for the discovery of nerve growth factor. * * * …   Universalium

  • Levi-Montalcini, Rita — ► (n. 1909) Bióloga italiana. Fue premio Nobel de Medicina y Fisiología en 1986, compartido con S. Cohen, por sus investigaciones sobre los factores de crecimiento celular …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Levi-Montalcini — Rita …   Scientists

  • Levi-Montalcini — Levi Montalcini, Rita …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Rita Levi-Montalcini — Born 22 April 1909 ( …   Wikipedia

  • Rita levi-montalcini — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Levi. Rita Levi Montalcini …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Rita Levi Montalcini — Rita Levi Montalcini, 2007 Rita Levi Montalcini, 1965 Rita Levi Montalcini (* 22. April 1909 in Turin, I …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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