Rita Levi-Montalcini, an Italian biologist who conducted underground research in defiance of Fascist persecution and went on to win a Nobel Prize for helping unlock the mysteries of the cell, died at her home in Rome on Sunday.
According to the Associated Press, she was 103.
Levi-Montalcini shared the Nobel medicine prize in 1986 with American biochemist Stanley Cohen for their groundbreaking research carried out in the United States. Her research increased the understanding of many conditions, including tumors, developmental malformations, and senile dementia.
In 1947 Levi-Montalcini was invited to the United States, where she remained for more than 20 years. During her research at Washington University in St. Louis she discovered nerve growth factor, or NGF, the first substance known to regulate the growth of cells.
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