After World War II, Levi-Montalcini did much of her work at Washington University in St. Louis with Dr. Viktor Hamburger, The New York Times reported. She found a protein that attracted nerve growth from nearby developing cells.
She and Dr. Stanley Cohen, a biochemist at Washington University, isolated and described the chemical, known as nerve growth factor, the Times said.
She was born into a Jewish family in Turin, Italy, hid from the Nazis in Florence, never married and had no children, the Times said.
The report said she retired from Washington University in 1977, dividing her time between Rome and St. Louis.