Sunday, April 19, 2009

Rita Levi Montalcini Turns 100 April 22

I saw this news blip on Yahoo news and had to post it. Levi Montalcini's accomplishments began under the restrictions of Mussolini's ideology. As a Jew, Levi Montalcini could not practice medicine (she had just graduated from medical school) or work at the university. Undaunted, she created a home laboratory and continued her work in basic neurobiology. She moved to the United States after the war, and there she discovered what is now known as nerve growth factor (NGF), a small protein that stimulates the growth of nerve cells.

Nature has this extended profile "One Hundred Years of Rita" and describes her as the first Nobel Prize scientist to reach this life milestone. Great article.

The Nobel Prize site has a number of Levi Montalcini resources, including an autobiography, her Nobel lecture, and the original press release in 1986 announcing her prize, which was shared with Stanley Cohen, the discoverer of epidermal growth factor (EGF).

Photo from Nobel Prize site (1986).

(AP Photo/Riccardo De Luca) 2009

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