Vladimir Betz

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Volodymyr Oleksiyovych Betz
Born26 April 1834
Died12 October 1894
Kyiv, Russian Empire[1]
CitizenshipRussian Empire
Alma materSaint Vladimir University
Known fordiscovery of Betz cells
Awardsmedals for brain tissue samples at All-Russian Manufacturing Exhibition (1870), Vienna World Exposition (1873)
Scientific career
InstitutionsSaint Vladimir University
Volodymyr Betz headstone at the Vydubychi Monastery, Kyiv. The inscription reads: "To the initiator of studies of the Central Nervous System, the professor of anatomy of the Kyiv University, Volodymyr Alekseyevich Betz. 1834-1894. Grateful Ukrainian morphologists."

Volodymyr Oleksiyovych Betz(Ukrainian: Володи́мир Олексійович Бец) (26 April [O.S. 14 April] 1834 – 12 October [O.S. 30 September] 1894)[2] was a Ukrainian anatomist and histologist, professor of the Saint Vladimir University (Kyiv, now Ukraine), famous for the discovery of giant pyramidal neurons of primary motor cortex.

Volodymyr Betz began his education in the Nizhyn Gymnasium (the Russian Empire at that time). Later he transferred to the 2nd Kyiv Gymnasium and graduated from it in 1853. In 1860 he received a physician's diploma from the Medicine faculty (now Bogomolets National Medical University) of Saint Vladimir University in Kyiv (now Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv) and was appointed a prosector's aide at the anatomy department. He went abroad to study in May 1861 and returned in September 1862, having studied with and attended the lectures of professors Brücke, Bunsen, Kölliker, Helmholtz, and Kirchhoff. From 1864 to 1867 he lectures anatomy and histology at the university, rising in 1868 to the rank of Extraordinary Professor and in 1870 becoming Ordinary Professor of the anatomy department.

Brain tissue preparations made by Betz were awarded medals twice - at the All-Russian manufacturing exhibition in 1870 and at Vienna World Exposition of 1873. In 1874, Volodymyr Oleksiyovych described the giant pyramidal neurons in the primary motor cortex, which later were named Betz cells.[3]

Betz's most prominent works include:

  • "On the hepatic blood circulation" (1863)
  • "A new method of human CNS exploration" (1870)
  • "On the grouping of the convolutions of human brain" (1871)
  • "Two centers in the human brain cortex" (1875)
  • "An anatomy of the human brain surface, with an atlas and 86 tables" (1883)
  • "Historical figures of the Russian South-West" (1883, coauthored by prof. B.A.Antonovych)


  1. ^ Jessie Dobson: Anatomical Eponyms. Being a Biographical Dictionary of those Anatomists whose Names have become Incorporated into Anatomical Nomenclature, with Definitions of the Structures to which their Names have been Attached and References to the Works in which they are Described. E. & S. Edinburgh/London: Livingstone, 1962, p. 24.
  2. ^ Kushchayev, Sergiy V., et al. "The Discovery of the Pyramidal Neurons: Volodymyr Betz and a New Era of Neuroscience." JOURNAL OF NEUROSURGERY. Vol. 113. No. 2. 5550 MEADOWBROOK DRIVE, ROLLING MEADOWS, IL 60008 USA: AMER ASSOC NEUROLOGICAL SURGEONS, 2010.
  3. ^ Betz W. (1874) Anatomischer Nachweis zweier Gehirncentra. Centralblatt für die medizinischen Wissenschaften. 12:578-580, 595-599.