Above all, don’t fear difficult moments. The best comes from them
Overcoming gender and religious barriers, Rita Levi-Montalcini became a doctor and a scientist. She was responsible for discovering the nerve growth factor (NGF), a biomolecule that operates on the development and maintenance of the nervous system. The early experiments on which her later work was based were done in her bedroom because of discriminatory racial laws prohibiting Jews from working in the Italian University system. After WW2 in 1946, she became a researcher and a professor at Washington University in Saint Louis establishing a second laboratory in Rome in 1962.
She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1986 for her research. Current studies on how NGF problems are related to neural-degeneration diseases such as dementia, Alzheimer and cancer are founded on her discoveries. The Rita Levi-Montalcini Onlus Foundation invests in women scientists by establishing scholarships for the education of African women in support of their education.
- Levi-Montalcini, “In Praise of Imperfection: My Life and Work”, 1989
- Levi-Montalcini, “Saga of the Nerve Growth Factor, The: Preliminary Studies, Discovery, Further Development (World Scientific 20th Century Biology)”, 1997