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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Remembering Prof. Rita Levi - Montalcini - Nobel Laureate Chemistry - On Technion Visit

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In March 2008, shortly before her 99th birthday, Levi-Montalcini visitedTechnion. She came with a delegation from the Italian National Academy of Sciences as a show of support for Israel, at a time when Europe called for a boycott on Israeli scientists. Montalcini-Levi never married nor had any children. She died at home on December 30, 2012, aged 103. At a Rome event in May 2007, Technion venerated this great Italian scientist for her groundbreaking achievements in science and service to humanity.

Rita Levi-Montalcini was born on April 22, 1909, in Turin, Italy. She went to medical school and graduated summa cum laude in 1936. In 1947, an invitation from Prof. Viktor Hamburger to join his lab in St. Louis. She accepted and stayed on at Washington University, becoming a full professor in 1958. In 1962, she helped establish the Institute of Cell Biology in Rome and became its first director.
Neurologist Levi-Montalcini received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1986, together with biochemist Prof. Stanley Cohen, for their discovery of nerve growth factor (NGF). In 2001, Italy recognized her as a senator for life; Levi-Montalcini regularly attended Senate. She remained active in her laboratory and in developing research in Italy.