Rita Levi-Montalcini was known as Italy's "Lady of Cells," The Associated Press
She won the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1986 jointly with American biochemist Stanley Cohen for their discovery of nerve growth tissue (NGF), Reuters
reports. NGF is a "protein that makes developing cells grow by stimulating nerve tissue."
Her study of cells also answered many questions and furthered understanding on many illnesses including cancer, BBC News
Miss Levi-Montalcini was a Jew who lived through anti-Semitism and the Nazi invasion, The AP
reports. In 2001, she was honored as an Italian "Senator-For-Life."
Her niece, Piera Levi-Montalcini, said her aunt continued her research everyday until her death, BBC News
Two days after celebrating her 103rd birthday in April, she posted a note reminding people how important it was to never give up on life or "fall into mediocrity or and passive resignation," Reuters
"I've lost a bit of sight and a lot of hearing. At conferences, I don't see the projections and I don't feel good. But I think more now than I did when I was 20. The body does what it wants. I am not the body, I am the mind," she wrote."