Rita Levi-Montalicini works at the Institute of Neurobiology of the CNR with the title of "superesperto", focusing on the spectrum of action of NGF.
Rita Levi-Montalicini comes back to Turin and builds a small research unit at home in her bedroom to continue her research, inspired by an article by Viktor Hamburger, reporting on the effects of limb extirpation in chick embryos. Giuseppe Levi is at that time her first and only assistant.
Rita Levi-Montalicini pursues the three year specialization in neurology and psychiatry.
Rita Levi-Montalicini receives half of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine along with Stanley Cohen "for their discoveries of growth factors".
Rita Levi-Montalicini directs the Research Center of Neurobiology of the Italian National Council of Research at the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (National Institute of Health).
Rita Levi-Montalicini is appointed Senator-for-life by Italian President Carlo Azeglio Ciampi.
Rita Levi-Montalicini accepts an invitation from the zoologist Viktor Hamburger to join the Washington University in St. Louis. She plans to remain there for only ten to twelve months, but she ends up staying more than three decades. In 1956 she is appointed Associate Professor and in 1958 Full Professor, a position which she holds until retirement in 1977. In 1962 she establishes a research unit in Rome, dividing her time between the Italian capital and St. Louis.
Rita Levi-Montalicini, because of laws barring academic and professional careers to Jewish Italian citizens, escapes to Brussels with her professor Giuseppe Levi. Almost until the German invasion of Belgium they are guests at the Institute of Neurology at the University of Brussels.
Rita Levi-Montalicini moves to a country cottage because Turin is bombarded by Anglo-American air forces. She rebuilds her mini-laboratory and resumes her experiments in the countryside of Piemonte.
Rita Levi-Montalicini goes to Brazil to continue her in vitro culture experiments at the University of Rio de Janeiro, Institute of Biophysics, as a guest of the director Professor Carlo Chagas. The experiments performed in Brazil in December 1952, allow for the identification of the growth factor of neuronal cells.
After convincing her father, Rita Levi-Montalicini enters the medical school in Turin, where she studies with Salvador Luria and Renato Dulbecco under the famous Italian histologist, Giuseppe Levi. The choice of medicine is determined by the fact that in that year her beloved housekeeper Giovanna Bruatto becomes ill and dies of cancer. Montalcini graduates with a summa cum laude degree in Medicine and Surgery.
Rita Levi-Montalicini flees to Florence in the autumn of 1943 because of the German invasion of Italy. In Florence she lives underground with her family until the end of the war. In August of 1944, the Anglo-American armies force the German invaders to leave Florence. At the Anglo-American Headquarters, Levi-Montalcini works as a medical doctor and she is assigned to a camp of war refugees.
By transferring pieces of tumours to chick embryos, Montalcini finds a mass of cells full of nerve fibres, identifying nerves growing all around the tumour cells. This growth takes over areas that transform in other tissues and even enter veins in the embryo, but do not grow into the arteries, which would flow from the embryo back to the tumour. Montalcini and Stan Cohen realize that the tumour itself releases a substance which incites the growth of nerves: the nerve growth factor (NGF).
Rita Levi-Montalicini dies in her home near Villa Torlonia in Rome at the age of 103.
Rita Levi-Montalicini is born in Turin along with her twin sister Paola, the youngest of four children to Adamo Levi, an electrical engineer and mathematician, and Adele Montalcini, a painter. Although her father is highly cultured and loves his female children very much, he decides that none of them would attend universities because a professional career would interfere with the duties of a wife and mother.
Rita Levi-Montalicini holds the position of Director of the Institute of Cell Biology of the Italian National Council of Research. After retiring from this position she continues her studies as a researcher and she becomes Guest Professor from 1979 to 1989.
Rita Levi-Montalicini founds the European Brain Research Institute and then serves as its president.
Rita Levi-Montalicini goes back to Turin to begin her academic career at the University.