Corneille Heymans


Corneille Jean François Heymans

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Corneille Jean François Heymans
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1938

Born: 28 March 1892, Ghent, Belgium

Died: 18 July 1968, Knokke, Belgium

Affiliation at the time of the award: Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

Prize motivation: “for the discovery of the role played by the sinus and aortic mechanisms in the regulation of respiration”

Corneille Heymans received his Nobel Prize one year later, in 1939.

Prize share: 1/1


Without conscious thought on our part, our breathing is regulated by a respiratory center in the medulla oblongata. Corneille Heymans, his father and colleagues researched how breathing is regulated by muscular reflexes and the blood’s chemical composition. Through work with dogs, they showed how impulses are conveyed via the vagus nerves between the respiratory center and respiratory muscles. In 1931 Heymans demonstrated that the glomus, a small globular body made up of small blood vessels from the carotid artery, has an important role in this context through readings of the blood’s chemical composition.

To cite this section
MLA style: Corneille Heymans – Facts. Nobel Prize Outreach AB 2023. Sun. 1 Oct 2023. <>

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