Rita Levi-Montalcini

Professor and research scientist in neurophysiology, Nobel laureate in physiology (1986), and holder of several international awards. She graduated in medicine and surgery at the University of Turin, then specialised in neurology and psychiatry.


She was born in Turin on April 22, 1909, the youngest of four children of Adamo Levi, an electrical engineer and gifted mathematician, and Adele Montalcini, a talented painter.



Although it was not a generally accepted practice at that time for women to study at universities, at the age of twenty she entered the medical school in Turin.

In 1936 she graduated from medical school with a summa cum laude degree in Medicine and Surgery, and enrolled in the specialization in neurology and psychiatry.



The racial defence measures issued by the authorities during the same year have prevented her to continue her academic and professional career, so she has built her own small research unit at home. During the bombardment of Turin in 1941 she moved to a country cottage in Piemonte, where she had rebuilt her mini-laboratory. Soon they had to leave for Florence, where they lived underground until the end of the war.

From August 1944, after the Anglo-American forces had arrived to Florence, she worked as a medical doctor in a refugee camp. After the war had ended in May 1945, she returned to Turin and resumed her academic positions at the University.

Between 1947 and 1977, when she has retired, she worked at the University of St. Louis, also directing a research unit in Rome established by her in 1962.


Based on the source: http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1986/levi-montalcini-autobio.html



Ambassador Montalcini - Rome 100th Anniversary


View video >
< back to overview
Logo: European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009
Rita Levi-Montalcini

Rita Levi-Montalcini