Vladimir Betz

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

Vladimir Alekseyevich 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 Kiev University (Bogomolets National Medical University), famous for the discovery of giant pyramidal neurons of primary motor cortex.

Vladimir Betz began his education in the Nizhyn Gymnasium (Ukraine, part of the Russian Empire at that time). Later he transferred to the 2nd Kiev Gymnasium and graduated from it in 1853. In 1860 he received a physician's diploma from the Medicine faculty of Saint Vladimir University in Kiev (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, 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, Vladimir Alekseyevich described the giant pyramidal neurons in the primary motor cortex, which later were named Betz cells.[3]

Betz' 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.Antonovich)


  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: Vladimir 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.