Women of Interest – Rita Levi-Montalcini

Rita Levi-Montalcini was born April 22, 1909, in Turin, Italy, and died December 30, 2012, in Rome Italy. In 1986, Levi-Montalcini won the Nobel Peace Prize in Physiology or Medicine, along with colleague Stanley Cohen, for the discovery of nerve growth factor (NGF). In 1936 she graduated of the University of Turin, but her academic career was halted by Mussolini’s 1938 Manifest of Race and the implementation of laws barring Jews from academic and professional careers. As a result, she set up a laboratory in her bedroom and continued her study of nerve fibers. In 2001 her political career began and she went on to serve in the Italian Senate as a Senator for Life. From 1961 to 1969 Levi-Montalcini directed the Research Center of Neurobiology of the CNR (Rome) and, from 1969 to 1978, she directed the Laboratory of Cellular Biology. At the time of her death she was the oldest living Nobel recipient. Rita Levi-Montalcini’s awards and honors are numerous. Additional information can be found at the following websites: