Tuesday, April 22, 2014

This Day in Science History - April 22 - Rita Levi-Montalcini

April 22ndis the birthday of Rita Levi-Montalcini. She was awarded half the 1986 Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discovery of nerve growth factors. Upon graduation in 1936 with a medical degree, she was denied an academic or professional position in her native Italy under Mussolini's anti-Jewish laws. Instead, she set up a home laboratory in her bedroom and began researching nerve growth in chicken embryos. The paper she wrote on chick embryos earned her an invitation to a research position at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri in 1947 where she stayed for the next 30 years. The Italian government recognized her by making her a member of the Italian Senate for life in 2001. She was a respected and active member of the Senate until her death in 2012 at the age of 103.

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