Nobel Prize winning biologist Rita Levi-Montalcini dies aged 103

Biologist Rita Levi-Montalcini, 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, has died at her home in Rome aged 103.

Italian Nobel Prize-winning scientist Montalcini pictured in 2009 Credit: Reuters

Italy's so-called "Lady of the Cells", who died today, lived through anti-Semitic discrimination and Nazi invasion, becoming one of her country's leading scientists and sharing the medicine prize for her groundbreaking research in the United States.

Her research increased the understanding of many conditions, including tumours, developmental malformations, and senile dementia.