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 practicing medicine and from working in the university. Undaunted she continued her cell research by conducting experiments in an improvised laboratory in her bedroom with embryos from eggs which she had begged for to feed "needy children." Since she was a member of the "Jewish race," the results of the experiments could not be published in fascist Italy, but they did appear in Belgium, establishing her scientific reputation. The family fled to Belgium, but with Hitler's invasion of the country in 1940 returned to Italy. They hid in Florence under the name "Lovisato," claiming to be southern Italians – with a northern accent. In 1947 Levi-Montalcini accepted a teaching and research position at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, with Professor Viktor Hamburger. There in June 1951 she made the discovery for which she and Dr. Stanley Cohen\>\> , who worked with her at that time, were awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize for medicine, the isolation of the nerve growth factor (NGF), a protein which stimulates the growth of sensory and sympathetic nerves in animals and in cultures. Levi-Montalcini, who holds both United States and Italian citizenship, returned to Italy in 1977 to head a research laboratory of the National Council of Scientific Research in Rome. She was the first woman elected to the Pontifical Academy of Science and the sixth woman to be accepted into the National Academy of Sciences (1968). In addition to the Nobel Prize, Levi-Montalcini received the Feltrinelli International Prize in medicine in 1969, the St. Vincent Prize in 1980, and the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for 1986.

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • 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 — (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… …   Historical Dictionary of modern Italy

  • 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

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