Rita Levi-Montalcini

Rita Levi-Montalcini, OMRI, OMCA (Italian pronunciation: [ˈriːta ˈlɛːvi montalˈtʃiːni]; 22 April 1909 – 30 December 2012) was an Italian Nobel laureate, honored for her work in neurobiology. She was awarded the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly with colleague Stanley Cohen for the discovery of nerve growth factor (NGF).[3] From 2001 until her death, she also served in the Italian Senate as a Senator for Life.[4] This honor was given due to her significant scientific contributions.[5]

On 22 April 2009, she became the first Nobel laureate ever to reach the age of 100,[6] and the event was feted with a party at Rome's City Hall.[7][8] At the time of her death, she was the oldest living Nobel laureate.[9]

Senator for life
Rita Levi-Montalcini
Rita Levi-Montalcini bandw
Rita Levi-Montalcini, circa 1975. Image courtesy of the Bernard Becker Medical Library, Washington University School of Medicine
Born22 April 1909
Died30 December 2012 (aged 103)
CitizenshipItaly, United States
Alma materUniversity of Turin
Known forNerve growth factor
Scientific career
InstitutionsWashington University in St. Louis

Early life and education

Levi-Montalcini was born on 22 April 1909 in Turin,[10][11] to a Sephardic Jewish family.[12][13] She and her twin sister Paola were the youngest of four children. Her parents were Adele Montalcini, a painter, and Adamo Levi, an electrical engineer and mathematician, whose families had moved from Asti and Casale Monferrato, respectively, to Turin at the turn of the twentieth century.[10][14]

In her teenage years, she considered becoming a writer and admired Swedish writer Selma Lagerlöf,[15] but after seeing a close family friend die of stomach cancer she decided to attend the University of Turin Medical School.[16] Her father discouraged his daughters from attending college, as he feared it would disrupt their potential lives as wives and mothers, but eventually he supported Levi-Montalcini's aspirations to become a doctor.[10] While at the University of Turin, the neurohistologist Giuseppe Levi sparked her interest in the developing nervous system.[6] After graduating summa cum laude M.D. in 1936 she remained at the university as Levi's assistant, but her academic career was cut short by Benito Mussolini's 1938 Manifesto of Race and the subsequent introduction of laws barring Jews from academic and professional careers.[17]

Career and research

Levi-Montalcini lost her assistant position in the anatomy department after a 1938 law barring Jews from university positions was passed.[18] During World War II she set up a laboratory in her bedroom and studied the growth of nerve fibers in chicken embryos, which laid the groundwork for much of her later research. She described this experience decades later in the science documentary film Death by Design/The Life and Times of Life and Times (1997).[19] The film also features her fraternal twin sister Paola, who became a respected artist best known for her aluminum sculptures designed to bring light to the rooms due to the reflective white surface.[20]

When the Germans invaded Italy in September 1943, her family fled south to Florence, where they survived the Holocaust, under false identities, protected by some non-Jewish friends.[21] In her hiding place, she set up a laboratory in a corner of their shared living space. During the Nazi occupation, Rita was in contact with the partisans of the Action Party.[22] After the liberation of Florence in August 1944, she volunteered her medical expertise for the Allied health service. Her family returned to Turin in 1945.

In September 1946, Levi-Montalcini was granted a one-semester research fellowship in the laboratory of Professor Viktor Hamburger at Washington University in St. Louis; he was interested in two of the articles Levi-Montalcini had published in foreign scientific journals.[23] After she duplicated the results of her home laboratory experiments, Hamburger offered her a research associate position, which she held for 30 years. It was there that, in 1952, she did her most important work: isolating nerve growth factor (NGF) from observations of certain cancerous tissues that cause extremely rapid growth of nerve cells.[17] By transferring pieces of tumors to chick embryos, Montalcini established a mass of cells that was full of nerve fibers. The discovery of nerves growing everywhere like a halo around the tumor cells was surprising. When describing it, Montalcini said it is: "like rivulets of water flowing steadily over a bed of stones." [24] The nerve growth produced by the tumor was unlike anything she had seen before – the nerves took over areas that would become other tissues and even entered veins in the embryo. But nerves did not grow into the arteries, which would flow from the embryo back to the tumor. This suggested to Montalcini that the tumor itself was releasing a substance that was stimulating the growth of nerves.

She was made a full professor in 1958. In 1962, she established a second laboratory in Rome and divided her time between there and St. Louis. In 1963, she became the first woman to receive the Max Weinstein Award (given by the United Cerebral Palsy Association) due to her significant contributions into neurological research.[25]

From 1961 to 1969, she directed the Research Center of Neurobiology of the CNR (Rome), and from 1969 to 1978, the Laboratory of Cellular Biology.[17] After she retired in 1977, she was appointed as director of the Institute of Cell Biology of the Italian National Council of Research in Rome. She later retired from that position in 1979, however continued to be involved as a guest professor.[26]

Levi-Montalcini founded the European Brain Research Institute in 2002, and then served as its president.[27][28] Her role in this institute was at the center of some criticism from some parts of the scientific community in 2010.[29]

Controversies were raised about the cooperation of Levi-Montalcini with the Italian pharmaceutical industry Fidia . While working for Fidia, she improved the understanding of gangliosides. Beginning in 1975, the scientist supported the drug Cronassial (a particular ganglioside) produced by Fidia from bovine brain tissue. Independent studies showed that the drug actually could be successful in treatment of intended diseases (peripheral neuropathies).[30][31] Years later, some patients under treatment with Cronassial reported a severe neurological syndrome (Guillain–Barré syndrome). As per the normal cautionary routine, Germany banned Cronassial in 1983, followed by other countries. Italy prohibited the drug only in 1993; at the same time, an investigation revealed that Fidia paid the Italian Ministry of Health for a quick approval of Cronassial and later paid for pushing use of the drug in treatment of diseases where it had not been tested.[32][33][34] Levi-Montalcini's relationship with the company was revealed during the investigation, and she was criticized publicly.[35]

In the 1990s, she was one of the first scientists pointing out the importance of the mast cell in human pathology.[36] In the same period (1993), she identified the endogenous compound palmitoylethanolamide as an important modulator of this cell.[37]

Levi-Montalcini earned a Nobel Prize along with Stanley Cohen in 1986 in the physiology or medicine category. The two earned their Nobel Prizes for their research in to the nerve growth factor (NGF), the protein that causes cell growth due to stimulated nerve tissue.[38]

Political career

On 1 August 2001, she was appointed as Senator for Life by the President of Italy, Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.[11]

On 28–29 April 2006, Levi-Montalcini, aged 97, attended the opening assembly of the newly elected Senate, at which the President of the Senate was elected. She declared her preference for the centre-left candidate Franco Marini. Due to her support of the government of Romano Prodi, she was often criticized by some right-wing senators, who accused her of saving the government when the government's exiguous majority in the Senate was at risk. Her old age was mocked by far-right politician Francesco Storace.[39][40]

Personal life

Levi-Montalcini's father, Adamo Levi, was an electrical engineer and mathematician, and her mother, Adele Montalcini, was a painter.[41] The family's Jewish roots extend back to the Roman Empire; due to the family's strict and traditional background, Adamo was not supportive of women attending college as it would intrude in their ability to tend to the children and house.[42]

Rita Levi Montalcini
Rita Levi-Montalcini in 2009

Levi-Montalcini had an older brother Gino, who died after a heart attack in 1974. He was one of the most well known Italian architects and a professor at the University of Turin. She had two sisters: Anna, five years older than Rita, and Paola, her twin sister, a popular artist who died on 29 September 2000, age 91.

Levi-Montalcini never married and had no children. In a 2006 interview she said: "I never had any hesitation or regrets in this sense... My life has been enriched by excellent human relations, work and interests. I have never felt lonely."[43] She died in her home in Rome on 30 December 2012 at the age of 103.[44]

Upon her death, the Mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, stated it was a great loss "for all of humanity." He praised her as someone who represented "civic conscience, culture and the spirit of research of our time." Italian astrophysicist Margherita Hack told Sky TG24 TV in a tribute to her fellow scientist, "She is really someone to be admired." Italy's premier, Mario Monti, paid tribute to Levi-Montalcini's "charismatic and tenacious" character and for her lifelong endeavor to "defend the battles in which she believed." Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi praised Levi-Montalcini's civil and moral efforts, saying she was an "inspiring" example for Italy and the world.[45]

Awards and honors

In 1966, she was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.[46]

In 1968, she became the tenth woman[47] elected to the United States National Academy of Sciences.[48] She was elected an EMBO Member in 1974.[1]

In 1974, although a professed atheist,[13] she became a member of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences[49]

In 1983, she was awarded the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University.[50]

In 1985, she was awarded the Ralph W. Gerard Prize in Neuroscience.

In 1986, Levi-Montalcini and collaborator Stanley Cohen received the Nobel Prize in Medicine,[17] as well as the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research.[51] This made her the fourth Nobel Prize winner to come from Italy's small (less than 50,000 people) but very old Jewish community, after Emilio Segrè, Salvador Luria (a university colleague and friend) and Franco Modigliani.

In 1987, she received the National Medal of Science, the highest American scientific honor.[48]

In 1991, she received the Laurea Honoris Causa in Medicine from the University of Trieste, Italy. On that occasion, she expressed her desire to formulate a Carta of Human Duties as necessary counterpart of the too much neglected Declaration of Human Rights. The vision of Rita Levi-Montalcini came true with the issuing of the Trieste Declaration of Human Duties and the foundation in 1993 of the International Council of Human Duties, International Council of Human Duties (ICHD), at the University of Trieste.[52]

She was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 1995.[2]

In 1999, Levi-Montalcini was nominated Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) by FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf.[53]

In 2001, she was nominated Senator-for-life by the Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.[54]

In 2006, Levi-Montalcini received the degree Honoris Causa in Biomedical Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Turin, in her native city.

In 2008, she received the PhD Honoris Causa from the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain.

In 2009, she received the Leonardo da Vinci Award from European Academy of Sciences.

In 2011, at the Sapienza University of Rome she received the PhD Honoris Causa from the McGill University, Canada.

She was a founding member of Città della Scienza.[55] and Academician of Studium, Accademia di Casale e del Monferrato, Italy.

See also


  • Levi-Montalcini, Rita, In Praise of Imperfection: My Life and Work.(Elogio dell'imperfezione) Basic Books, New York, 1988.
  • Yount, Lisa (1996). Twentieth Century Women Scientists. New York: Facts on File. ISBN 0-8160-3173-8.
  • Muhm, Myriam : Vage Hoffnung für Parkinson-Kranke – Überlegungen der Medizin-Nobelpreisträgerin Rita Levi-Montalcini, Süddeutsche Zeitung #293, p. 22. December 1986 "L'Archivio "medicina – medicine"". Larchivio.org. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 16 March 2011.


  • Origine ed Evoluzione del nucleo accessorio del Nervo abducente nell'embrione di pollo, Roma, Tip. Cuggiani, 1942.
  • Il messaggio nervoso, con Pietro Angeletti e Giuseppe Moruzzi, Milano, Rizzoli, 1975.
  • New developments in neurobiological research, in "Commentarii", vol. III, n. 15, Pontificia Academia Scientiarum, 1976.
  • Elogio dell'imperfezione, Milano, Garzanti, 1987. ISBN 88-11-59390-5. (1999 nuova edizione accresciuta).
  • NGF. Apertura di una nuova frontiera nella neurobiologia, Roma-Napoli, Theoria, 1989. ISBN 88-241-0162-3.
  • Sclerosi multipla in Italia. Aspetti e problemi, con Mario Alberto Battaglia, Genova, AISM, 1989. ISBN 88-7148-001-5.
  • Presentazione di Max Perutz, È necessaria la scienza?, Milano, Garzanti, 1989. ISBN 88-11-59415-4.
  • Prefazione a Carlo Levi, Poesie inedite. 1934–1946, Roma, Mancosu, 1990.
  • Prefazione a Gianni Bonadonna, Donne in medicina, Milano, Rizzoli, 1991. ISBN 88-17-84077-7.
  • Presentazione di Gilberto Salmoni, Memoria: un telaio infinito Dialogo su un mondo tutto da scoprire, Genova, Costa & Nolan, 1993.
  • Prefazione a Giacomo Scotti (a cura di), Non si trova cioccolata. Lettere di bambini jugoslavi nell'orrore della guerra, Napoli, Pironti, 1993. ISBN 88-7937-095-2.
  • Reti. Scienza, cultura, economia, con Guido Cimino e Lauro Galzigna, Ancona, Transeuropa, 1993. ISBN 88-7828-101-8.
  • Vito Volterra. Il suo percorso, in Scienza, tecnologia e istituzioni in Europa. Vito Volterra e l'origine del CNR, Roma-Bari, Laterza, 1993. ISBN 88-420-4147-5.
  • Il tuo futuro, Milano, Garzanti, 1993. ISBN 88-11-73837-7.
  • Per i settanta anni della Enciclopedia italiana, 1925–1995, in 1925–1995: la Treccani compie 70 anni. Mostra storico-documentaria, Roma, Treccani, Istituto della Enciclopedia italiana, 1995.
  • Prefazione an American Medical Association, L'uso degli animali nella ricerca scientifica. Libro bianco, Bologna, Esculapio, 1995.
  • Senz'olio contro vento, Milano, Baldini & Castoldi, 1996. ISBN 88-8089-198-7.
  • L'asso nella manica a brandelli, Milano, Baldini & Castoldi, 1998. ISBN 88-8089-429-3.
  • La galassia mente, Milano, Baldini & Castoldi, 1999. ISBN 88-8089-636-9.
  • Presentazione di Nicola Canal, Angelo Ghezzi e Mauro Zaffaroni, Sclerosi multipla. Attualità e prospettive, Milano, Masson, 1999. ISBN 88-214-2467-7.
  • Intervista in Serena Zoli, Storie di ordinaria resurrezione (e non). Fuori dalla depressione e altri mali oscuri, Milano, Rizzoli, 1999. ISBN 88-17-86072-7.
  • L'Università delle tre culture. Conferenza della professoressa Rita Levi-Montalcini, Sondrio, Banca Popolare di Sondrio, 1999.
  • Cantico di una vita, Milano, Cortina, 2000. ISBN 88-7078-666-8.
  • Un universo inquieto. Vita e opere di Paola Levi Montalcini, Milano, Baldini & Castoldi, 2001. ISBN 88-8490-111-1.
  • Tempo di mutamenti, Milano, Baldini & Castoldi, 2002. ISBN 88-8490-140-5.
  • Tempo di azione, Milano, Baldini Castoldi Dalai, 2004. ISBN 88-8490-429-3.
  • Abbi il coraggio di conoscere, Milano, Rizzoli, 2004. ISBN 88-17-00199-6.
  • Lungo le vie della conoscenza. Un viaggio per sentieri inesplorati con Rita Levi-Montalcini, con Giuseppina Tripodi, Brescia, Serra Tarantola, 2005. ISBN 88-88507-56-6.
  • Eva era africana, Roma, Gallucci, 2005. ISBN 88-88716-35-1.
  • I nuovi magellani nell'er@ digitale, con Giuseppina Tripodi, Milano, Rizzoli, 2006. ISBN 88-17-00823-0.
  • Tempo di revisione, con Giuseppina Tripodi, Milano, Baldini Castoldi Dalai, 2006. ISBN 88-8490-983-X.
  • La vita intellettuale, in La vita intellettuale. Professioni, arti, impresa in Italia e nel pianeta. Atti del forum internazionale, 13 e 14 febbraio 2007, Bologna, Salone del podesta di Palazzo Re Enzo, Piazza del Nettuno, Bologna, Proctor, 2007. ISBN 978-88-95499-00-0.
  • Rita Levi-Montalcini racconta la scuola ai ragazzi|Rita Levi-Montalcini con Giuseppina Tripodi racconta la scuola ai ragazzi, Milano, Fabbri, 2007. ISBN 978-88-451-4308-3.
  • Le tue antenate. Donne pioniere nella società e nella scienza dall'antichità ai giorni nostri, con Giuseppina Tripodi, Roma, Gallucci, 2008. ISBN 978-88-6145-033-2.
  • La clessidra della vita di Rita Levi-Montalcini, con Giuseppina Tripodi, Milano, Baldini Castoldi Dalai, 2008. ISBN 978-88-6073-444-0.
  • Ritmi d'arte, Serra Tarantola, 2008 ISBN 88-95839-05-6
  • Cronologia di una scoperta, Milano, Baldini Castoldi Dalai, 2009. ISBN 978-88-6073-557-7.
  • L'altra parte del mondo, con Giuseppina Tripodi, Milano, Rizzoli, 2009. ISBN 978-88-17-01529-5.


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  13. ^ a b Costantino Ceoldo (31 December 2012). "Homage to Rita Levi Montalcini". Retrieved 20 July 2013. Born and raised in a Sephardic Jewish family in which culture and love of learning were categorical imperatives, she abandoned religion and embraced atheism.
  14. ^ Levi-Montalcini, Rita (18 April 1988). In Praise of Imperfection: My Life and Work. p. 28. Mother and Father both came from Sephardic families which had moved respectively from Asti and Casale Monferrato, two towns of some importance in Piedmont, to settle in Turin at the turn of the century.
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  25. ^ http://beckerexhibits.wustl.edu/mowihsp/bios/levi_montalcini.htm. Missing or empty |title= (help)
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  29. ^ "Self-inflicted damage.The autocratic actions of an institute's founder could destroy a centre of excellence for brain research". Nature. 463 (7279): 270. 21 January 2010. Bibcode:2010Natur.463..270.. doi:10.1038/463270a. PMID 20090705.
  30. ^ Horowitz SH (1984). "Ganglioside (Cronassial) therapy in diabetic neuropathy". Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. 174: 593–600. doi:10.1007/978-1-4684-1200-0_50. ISBN 978-1-4684-1202-4. PMID 6377852.
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Further reading

External links

Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research

The Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research is one of the prizes awarded by the Lasker Foundation for the outstanding discovery, Contribution and achievement in the field of medicine and Human Physiology. The award frequently precedes a Nobel Prize in Medicine: almost 50% of the winners have gone on to win one.


The BioGeM Institute (Biologia e Genetica Molecolare, "Biology and Molecular Genetics") is a nonprofit consortium formed by the National Research Council (CNR), the University of Naples "Federico II", the LUMSA of Rome, the Trieste AREA Science Park, the University of Udine, the Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn of Naples, the University of Sannio in Benevento, the University of Foggia, the University of Milan Bicocca, the

Second University and the Suor Orsola Benincasa University of Naples, the Chamber of Commerce of Avellino and the local mountain community of Ufita Valley.BioGeM was inaugurated in 2006 by Nobel laureate Rita Levi Montalcini and comprises research laboratories, services and teaching facilities. Scientific research, led by “Gaetano Salvatore” Genetics Research Institute (IRGS), takes place within Genetics and Translational Medicine (GTM) department and is aimed at understanding biological mechanisms and identifying the genes involved in the development and proliferation of various human diseases; the research is based on the use of animal models raised in a high level laboratory after the approval of the ethics committee for animal experimentation. Research primarily aims at fighting cancer and degenerative diseases, often in collaboration with international groups.Furthermore, the pharmacological research is carried out by a proper department named Medicinal Investigational Research (MIR), whose task covers the experimental verification of new drugs and the release of the related certifications. Furtermore, the training activities take place in a specific functional area named Life and Mind Science School (LIMSS).

Since 2010 Biogem has yearly hosted a meeting named Le due culture ("The two cultures") which over the years has been attended by a number of Nobel laureates and also (in 2018) the president of Italy Sergio Mattarella. The objective of the meeting is to find a common ground between humanistic and scientific knowledge.Starting from 2013 Biogem also has a forensic genetics laboratory.

Carmine Guerriero

Carmine Guerriero (born 6 June 1979 in Avellino) is an Italian economist whose main contributions concern the understanding of the determinants of legal, regulatory, and political institutions (endogenous institutions theory).

François Truffaut Award

The François Truffaut Award (Italian: Premio François Truffaut) was an Italian film award, named in memory of French director François Truffaut, that was awarded from 1988 to 2014 at the Giffoni Film Festival.

Giuseppe Levi

Giuseppe Levi (October 14, 1872 – February 3, 1965) was an Italian anatomist and histologist, professor of human anatomy (since 1916) at the universities of Sassari, Palermo and Turin. He was born on October 14, 1872 in Trieste to Jewish parents, Michele Levi and Emma Perugia. He was married to Lidia Tanzi and had five children: Gino, Mario, Alberto, Paola (who became the wife of Adriano Olivetti), and writer Natalia Ginzburg (wife of Leone Ginzburg and mother of Carlo Ginzburg), who described her father's personality in the successful Italian book Lessico famigliare (1963).

Levi was a pioneer of in vitro studies of cultured cells. He contributed to the study of the nervous system, especially on the plasticity of sensory ganglion cells.While in Turin, he tutored three students who later won the Nobel prize: Salvador Luria, Renato Dulbecco and Rita Levi-Montalcini.He was admitted as a national member of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei in 1926. In 1931 he subscribed to the oath of allegiance to the Fascist regime imposed to University professors.

List of Fellows of the Royal Society elected in 1995

This is a list of Fellows of the Royal Society elected in 1995.

List of Italian Nobel laureates

Since 1906, 20 Italians have been awarded the Nobel Prize.

List of Jewish American biologists and physicians

This is a list of famous Jewish American biologists and physicians. For other famous Jewish Americans, see List of Jewish Americans.

A. L. Mestel, pediatric surgeon, separation of conjoined twins (1968)

Abraham Low, neuropsychiatrist, Recovery International founder

Albert Sabin, oral polio vaccine

Albert Schatz, streptomycin

Albert Kligman, dermatologist

Alexander S. Wiener, hematologist and co-discoverer of the Rh factor

Alfred G. Gilman, biochemist, Nobel Prize (1994)

Arthur Kornberg, DNA replication, Nobel Prize (1959)

Baruch Blumberg, hepatitis B vaccine, Nobel Prize (1976)

Baruj Benacerraf, immunologist, Nobel Prize (1980)

Béla Schick, diphtheria test

Brian David Dynlacht, biochemist, TFIID (1991) and CP110 (2002)

Carl Djerassi, contraceptive pill

Casimir Funk, vitamins

Charles Kelman, cataract surgery

Charles Weissmann, interferon cloning

Charles Yanofsky, geneticist

Daniel Nathans, microbiologist, Nobel Prize (1978)

David Baltimore, reverse transcriptase, Nobel Prize (1975)

Edmond H. Fischer, biochemist, Nobel Prize (1992) (Jewish father)

Eric R. Kandel, neuroscientist, Nobel Prize (2000)

Eric Lander, Human Genome Project

Esther Lederberg, geneticist

Fritz Lipmann, coenzyme A, Nobel Prize (1953)

George Wald, retina pigmentation, Nobel Prize (1967).

Gerald Edelman, biologist, Nobel Prize (1972)

Gertrude Elion, drug development, Nobel Prize (1988)

Gerty Cori, biochemist, Nobel Prize (1947)

Gregory Pincus, contraceptive pill

H. Robert Horvitz, biologist, Nobel Prize (2002)

Harold Varmus, virologist, Nobel Prize (1989)

Hermann Muller, geneticist, Nobel Prize (1946) (Jewish mother)

Horace Hodes, pediatrician

Howard Temin, reverse transcriptase, Nobel Prize (1975)

Hugh Iltis, botanist

Jared Diamond, evolutionary biologist and biogeographer

Jerome Horowitz, AZT

Jonas Salk, polio vaccine

Joseph Erlanger, physiologist, Nobel Prize (1945)

Joseph L. Goldstein, molecular geneticist, Nobel Prize (1985)

Joshua Lederberg, molecular biologist, Nobel Prize (1958)

Judah Folkman, cancer angiogenesis

Julius Axelrod, neurotransmitters, Nobel Prize (1970)

Karl Pribram, neurologist

Konrad Bloch, cholesterol, Nobel Prize (1959)

Leo Sternbach, valium

Lynn Margulis, symbiogenesis, Gaia theory

Marshall Nirenberg, genetic code, Nobel Prize (1968)

Martin Rodbell, biochemist, Nobel Prize (1994)

Matthew Meselson, DNA replication

Max Tishler, synthetic vitamins

Michael S. Brown, molecular geneticist, Nobel Prize (1985)

Michael Heidelberger, immunochemist

Michael S. Levine, developmental biologist, discoverer of homeobox

Ora Mendelsohn Rosen, insulin receptor

Otto Loewi, pharmacologist and psychobiologist, Noble Prize (1936)

Otto Meyerhof, glycolysis, Nobel Prize (1922)

Otto Saly Binswanger, toxicologist

Paul Berg, recombinant DNA, Nobel Prize (1980)

Paul Greengard, neuroscientist, Nobel Prize (2000)

Rachel Haurwitz, biochemist and structural biologist

Richard Axel, olfactory system, Nobel Prize (2004)

Richard Bing, cardiologist

Arthur J. Moss, cardiologist

Richard Lewontin, evolutionary biologist

Rita Levi-Montalcini, neurologist, Nobel Prize (1986)

Robert F. Furchgott, pharmacologist, Nobel Prize (1998)

Roger Kornberg, RNA transcription, Nobel Prize (2006) (son of Arthur Kornberg)

Rosalyn Yalow, medical physicist, Nobel Prize (1977)

Rosalind Franklin, X-ray crystallographer

Rudolf Schoenheimer, radioactive tracers

Salvador Luria, bacterial evolution, Nobel Prize (1969)

Selman Waksman, streptomycin, Nobel Prize (1952)

Stanley Cohen, neurologist, Nobel Prize (1986)

Stanley N. Cohen, genetic engineering

Stanley Miller, Miller-Urey experiment

Stanley Prusiner, neurologist, Nobel Prize (1997)

Stephen Jay Gould, evolutionary biologist and writer

Victor Dzau, President of the United States National Academy of Medicine

Werner Spitz, forensic pathologist

List of honorary members of the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno of Florence

In June 2013, the honorary members of the Accademia delle Arti del Disegno of Florence were:

Hussah Al-Sabah

Aldo Angioi

Pier Fausto Bagatti Valsecchi

Pier Luigi Ballini

Roberta Bartoli

Sandro Bellesi

Mario Bencivenni

Paola Benigni

Sergio Bertelli

Christoph Bertsch

Françoise Bissarra-Fréreau

Vincenzo Bogliaccino

Nana-Kow Bondzie

Maurizio Bossi

Isak Mathys Botha

Andrea Branzi

Aldo Buoncristiano

François Burchardt

Daniel Buren

Susanna Buricchi

Sandra Buyet

Remo Buti

Franco Camarlinghi

Luigi Cappugi

Giovanni Carbonara

Fernando Caruncho

Stefano Casciu

Pier Angiolo Cetica

Miles E. Chappell

Andrea Chiti Batelli

Marco Ciatti

Enrico Colle

Giuseppe Luigi Coluccia

Michel Conan

Simonella Condemi

Giovanni Conti

Roberto Contini

Mario Cusmano

Charles Davis

Carlo Del Bravo

Andrea Del Guercio

Romano Del Nord

Stefano De Rosa

Hugues De Varine Bohan

Elio Di Franco

Luftu Dogan

Georges Dontas

Francesco D'Ostilio

Elisabeth von Driander Treviranus

Francesco Durante

Marco Fagioli

Marzia Faietti

Ramon Falcon

Italo Faldi

Franca Falletti di Villafalletto

Luigi Fatichi

Giorgio Fiorenza

Anna Forlani Tempesti

Andrea Claudio Galluzzo

Ali Gengeli

Gabriella Gentilini

Giancarlo Gentilini

Alessandro Gioli

Anna Maria Giusti

Giuliano Gori

Gianfranco Grimaldi

Carlo Guaita

René Maurice Gueye

Alessandro Guidotti

Margaret Haines

Herman Hertzberger

Michael Hirst

Madaleine Hours

Elisabetta Insabato

Jasper Johns

Pierre Lalive D'Épinay

Carlo Lapucci

Rita Levi Montalcini

Gina Lollobrigida

Tomislav Maksimovic

Duccio Mannucci

Giampiero Maracchi

Carlo Marchiori

Paolo Marconi

Corrado Marsan

Lara Vinca Masini

Mario Matteucci

Silvia Meloni Trkulja

Bartolomeo Migone

Maria Augusta Morelli Timpanaro

Gabriele Morolli

Rosanna Morozzi

Alessandro Nova

Hendrik van Os

Piero Pacini

Claude François Parent

Francesca Petrucci

Renzo Piano

Giovanni Pieraccini

Sandra Pinto

Silvano Piovanelli

Pina Ragionieri

Tullia Romagnoli Carettoni

Franca Roselli

Pierre Rosenberg

Niccolò Rosselli Del Turco

Franco Scaramuzzi

Pierre Schneider

Erkinger Schwarzenberg

Magnolia Scudieri

Ludovica Sebregondi

Max Seidel

Salvatore Settis

Maria Sframeli

Giorgio Simoncini

Francesco Sisinni

Edoardo Speranza

Valdo Spini

Elena Staccioli

Cristos Stremmenos

Franck Sznura

Angelo Tartuferi

Serguei Tikhvinsky

Luigi Ulivieri

Mario Ursino

Maria Grazia Vaccari

Domenico Valentino

Cesare Vasoli

Timothy Verdon

Edoardo Vesentini

Robert Venturi

Rosario Vernuccio

Alessandro Vezzosi

Adolfo Vitta

Louis Waldman

Giorgio Weber

Detlef Weis

Gerard Wolf

Maria Grazia Spillantini

Maria Grazia Spillantini FMedSci FRS, is Professor of Molecular Neurology in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences at the University of Cambridge. She was elected as a fellow of The Royal Society in 2013. She is most noted for identifying the protein alpha-synuclein as the major component of Lewy bodies, the characteristic protein deposit found in the brain in Parkinson's disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. She has also identified mutations in the MAPT gene as a heritable cause for frontotemporal dementia.

Nerve growth factor

Nerve growth factor (NGF) is a neurotrophic factor and neuropeptide primarily involved in the regulation of growth, maintenance, proliferation, and survival of certain target neurons. It is perhaps the prototypical growth factor, in that it was one of the first to be described. Since it was first isolated by Nobel Laureates Rita Levi-Montalcini and Stanley Cohen in 1956, numerous biological processes involving NGF have been identified, two of them being the survival of pancreatic beta cells and the regulation of the immune system.

Paola Levi-Montalcini

Paola Levi-Montalcini (22 April 1909 – 29 September 2000) was an Italian painter.

Patrizia Genovesi

Patrizia Genovesi (born 1962) is an Italian photographer and video artist.

Genovesi takes inspiration from other arts as well as from technology, having had both a scientific education and studies of drawing and painting from the Italian tradition, music execution and composition, and other abilities like screenwriting with cinema director Mario Monicelli, writing with Domenico Starnone, and theater direction with Argentinian Renzo Casali.

Genovesi teaches Photography at the Free University of Cinema in Roma.

Genovesi’s photographs of Nobel Prize laureates, including Rita Levi-Montalcini, John Nash, Richard Ernst, Robert Mundell, and Frank Wilczeck have been published by the Nobel Prize Organization. Her portrait of Mrs. Levi-Montalcini was exhibited in Kamienna Gora, Poland, during the celebrations for the embryologist Viktor Hamburger, a primary collaborator of the Italian Nobel Prize laureate. Her portraits of photographer Leonard Freed are part of the permanent collection of the Musée de la Photographie in Charleroi, Belgium.

Renato Dulbecco

Renato Dulbecco (February 22, 1914 – February 19, 2012) was an Italian–American virologist who won the 1975 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work on oncoviruses, which are viruses that can cause cancer when they infect animal cells. He studied at the University of Turin under Giuseppe Levi, along with fellow students Salvador Luria and Rita Levi-Montalcini, who also moved to the U.S. with him and won Nobel prizes. He was drafted into the Italian army in World War II, but later joined the resistance.

Stanley Cohen (biochemist)

Stanley Cohen (born November 17, 1922) is an American biochemist who, along with Rita Levi-Montalcini, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1986 for the isolation of nerve growth factor and the discovery of epidermal growth factor.

The Rhetoric of Drugs

The Rhetoric of Drugs (French: Rhétorique de la drogue) in the original French title, is a 1990 work by French philosopher Jacques Derrida. Derrida, interviewed, discusses the concept of "drug", and says that "Already one must conclude that the concept of drug is a non-scientific concept, that it is instituted on the basis of moral or political evaluations." In his philosophical-linguistic analysis, Derrida unmasks the socio-cultural mystifications made on the discourses on drugs.

Derrida also discusses drug use by athletes. Exploring its confines, he says: "and what about women athletes who get pregnant for the stimulating, hormonal effects and then have an abortion after their event?"Derrida discusses how the link between the rhetoric of drugs and the Western ideology. He also says that "Adorno and Horkheimer correctly point out that drug culture has always been associated with the West's other, with Oriental ethics and religion", and adds: "The Enlightenment [...] is in itself a declaration of war on drugs."

Viktor Hamburger

Viktor Hamburger (July 9, 1900 – June 12, 2001) was a German professor and embryologist. In 1951 he co-authored the Hamburger-Hamilton stages. Hamburger lectured, among others, Nobel Prize-winning neurologist Rita Levi-Montalcini, who identified nerve growth factor along with Hamburger when they collaborated. Hamburger began to work at Washington University in St. Louis in 1935; he retired from his professor position in 1969 and continued researching until the 1980s.


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