394: Rita Levi-Montalcini
Neurologist and Physician
Born: 22 April 1909, Turin, Italy
Died: 30 December 2012, Rome, Italy
Rita volunteered with the Allied Health Service during World War II in her native Italy, and continued to work as a doctor in a refugee camp for a year afterward.
She studied the growth of nerve fibers in chicken embryos. In 1952, she was able to determine how to isolate the Nerve Growth Factor from observations of certain cancerous tissues that caused extremely rapid growth of nerve cells.
Rita was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1986. The prize citation reads, “For their discoveries of growth factors.”
In 2002, she founded the European Brain Research Institute.
When she died, aged 103, she was given the title of “Longest Living Nobel Laureate.”
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Women in Science by Rachel Ignotofsky