About this Research Topic
The road to Dr. Levi-Montalcini’s scientific breakthroughs, especially early on in her career, took a place against a backdrop of various forms of oppression, the Jewish persecution during World War II, and challenges associated with an ardent feminist stance. The adversities, which later in life she acknowledged contributed to her drive, tenacity, and ultimately achieving the Nobel Prize Award. After graduating from University of Turin, she remained there for a short time as a research assistant, but in 1938 she lost the post as the Italian government introduced discriminatory laws forbidding Jews to hold academic positions. This did not stop her from pursuing answers to her scientific questions as she set up a makeshift laboratory in her bedroom, using everyday utensils as tools to study motor neurons in chicken embryos. As the German invasion and shelling of Turin intensified, in 1943 her family fled to Florence where they survived Holocaust under false identities and returned to Turin 2 years later. Shortly after their return, she was offered a position at Washington University by a Professor who was interested in two of her early articles. She then remained at Washington University for the next 30 years, where she reproduced some of the experiments conducted in her bedroom leading to the isolation of the nerve growth factor in 1952 and from there, her academic career flourished.
This Research Topic aims to highlight and build on Dr. Levi-Montalcini’s legacy of the nerve growth factor discovery and extensive research career on this subject matter. The goal is to spotlight recent advances and methods in neurotrophic factors in brain disease development and treatment.
Keywords: neurotrophic, brain disease
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