Rita Levi-Montalcini Facts

Rita Levi-Montalcini Facts
Rita Levi-Montalcini (April 22, 1909 to December 30, 2012) is a Nobel Laureate honored for her work in neurobiology. She shared the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with her colleague Stanley Cohen for discovering nerve growth factor (NGF). From 2001 until her death, she also served in the Italian Senate as a Senator for Life.
Interesting Rita Levi-Montalcini Facts:
Rita Levi-Montalcini and her twin sister, Paola, were born to a wealthy Jewish family in Turin.
Their father, Adamo Levi, was an electrical engineer and mathematician.
Levi-Montalcini wanted to become a doctor after watching a close family friend die of cancer, so she entered the University of Turin Medical School.
She received her MD in 1936 and went to work for Giuseppe Levi in the neurology department.
In 1938 Benito Mussolini issued the Manifesto of Race which barred Jews from teaching and other professions.
She continued her study of the nervous system at home while she was unable to work.
In Sept 1946 she was offered a one semester of study at Washington University in St Louis.
After the semester was finished, she was offered a research associate position.
She remained in St Louis for thirty years and it was there that she did her work on nerve growth factor.
In 1952 she isolated the growth factor from cancerous cells that caused very rapid nerve cell growth.
She transferred cancer cells to chick embryos and discovered that the nerve cells grew at an alarming rate and took over other tissues.
In 1958 she became a Full Professor.
In 1962 she established the Research Center of Neurobiology of the Italian Research Center and served as its director until 1969.
In 2002 she founded the European Brain Research Institute.
Levi-Montalcini was involved in a scandal over the drug Cronassial when it was discovered that the manufacturer, Fidia, paid for quick approval of the drug from the Italian Ministry of Health.
In the early 1990s she was one of the discoverers of the importance of mast cells.
In 1993 she discovered that palmitoylethanolamide was an important cell modulator of mast cells.
On August 1, 2006 she was appointed Senator for Life of the Italian Senate.
In addition to the Nobel Prize her other honors include: election as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1966), the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University (1983), the Albert Lasker Award for Basic medical Research (1986) and the National Medal of Science (1987).

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