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Rita Levi-Montalcini Italian physiologist

Rita Levi-Montalcini Italian physiologist

H412/0279

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Credit

KLAUS GULDBRANDSEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY KLAUS GULDBRANDSEN / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Rita Levi-Montalcini. Portrait of Rita Levi-Montalcini (1909-2012), Italian neurophysiologist. Levi-Montalcini went to medical school despite her family's opposition. As a Jew, she had to go into hiding during World War II. Her early research, on the nervous system of a chicken embryo, was done in her bedroom. In 1949 she showed that embryos produce more nerve cells than are needed. She went on to discover Nerve Growth Factor (NGF), a protein which promotes the development of the nervous system. She also discovered Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF), which is related to NGF. She shared the Nobel Prize for physiology in 1986. Photographed in 1995.

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