Dr. SvobodaRegents Professor
BMS Graduate Program Director
Member of the GSBS Faculty

Sciences Bldg., Room 130J
3302 Gaston Ave.(mailing address)
Dallas, Texas 75246
Phone: 214-370-7005
Fax: 214-874-4538
Email: ksvoboda@tamhsc.edu

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Education and Post-Graduate Training

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA (1982-1985)

Ph.D., Department of Anatomy, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE (1982)

M.S., Department of Human Genetics, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE (1979)

B.S., University of Nebraska, Omaha, NE (1974)

Career History

Regents Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University College of Dentistry (2009- present)

Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University College of Dentistry (2001-2009)

Vice Chair, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University College of Dentistry (2008-2009)

Director, Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences, School of Graduate Studies, Texas A&M HSC (2009-present)

Director for Research Development, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University College of Dentistry (2007-2009)

Adjunct Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, UT Southwestern Medical Center (2001-present)

Director of Cell and Molecular Biology Core Facilities, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University College of Dentistry (1999-2006)

Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University College of Dentistry (1998-2001)

Associate Professor, Department of Ophthalmology, Boston University School of Medicine (1996-1998)

Associate Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Boston University School of Medicine (1994-1998)

Co-director of the Confocal Facility, Boston University School of Medicine (1992-1998)

Assistant Professor of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Boston University School of Medicine (1987-1994)

Instructor in Anatomy and Cellular Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA (1985-1986)

Honors and Awards

Beta, Beta, Beta (1974)
Regents Professor Award, Texas A&M Board of Regents (2009)
Fellow Award of the American Association of Anatomists (2010) 
Silver Fellow Award from the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO) (2010)
American Association of Anatomists A.J. Ladman Exemplary Service Award (2014)
Gold Fellow Award (ARVO) (2014)

Teaching Interests

Craniofacial Growth Track including Prenatal Craniofacial Development, Advanced Human Craniofacial Development and Craniofacial Anomalies, Cell and Molecular Biology of Oral and Craniofacial Tissues, Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology and General Histology, Microscopic Techniques, Techniques in Cell and Molecular Biology.

Research Interests

Dr. Kathy Svoboda has been interested in the role of the cytoskeleton in cell shape changes throughout her career.  She studied neuroepithelial cell shape changes during optic vesicle formation for her Ph.D. thesis topic, and then started investigating the corneal epithelial response to extracellular matrix as a postdoctoral project.

She is presently working on several projects with the long-term objective of understanding cell-matrix communication in whole tissue development models.  Her group has established that just as cultured cells form focal adhesions in response to extracellular matrix proteins, whole tissues also have similar structures termed "cell-matrix attachment complexes" (CMAX).  Both the focal adhesion and CMAX contain cell adhesion molecules, actin-associated proteins and signaling molecules.  Her lab has shown that these proteins and activated signaling pathways are necessary for reorganizing actin in the embryonic corneal epithelial model.  They have also shown that cell-matrix interactions in whole cartilage are necessary for survival and differentiation.

Understanding these relationships will help elucidate the events and interactions that are involved in tissue-specific differentiation and matrix synthesis.  Her group has developed experimental approaches to examine the spatial relationships between specific cellular components in whole tissues.  These cellular models have been used to determine the three-dimensional relationships between organelles, cytoskeletal proteins and specific mRNA.

In 1998, Dr. Svoboda joined the faculty at Texas A&M University College of Dentistry. Although she is still pursuing the long-term goals of her research, she has become involved in many other projects.  The new projects (signal transduction pathways controlling palate development, condylar cartilage differentiation and gingival tissue response to nicotine) are related to craniofacial development or cell-matrix interactions in oral tissues.

Dr. Svoboda has served on the executive board and been the program co-chair for the American Association of Anatomists and served as the AAA president from 2005-2007 (www.anatomy.org).  She also serves on the editorial board of Developmental Dynamics, Anatomical Record and the European Journal of Dentistry.CTO cover

The image to the right was the cover for a special issue of CTO on Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transitions.  Dr. Svoboda's student, Julia Chang, demonstrated that E-cadherin had an altered distribution in oral cancer cells.

 [Chang, J.Y.F., Wright, J.M., Svoboda, K.K.H. (2007). Role of epithelial-mesenchymal transition in oral cancer progression.  Cells Tissues Organs 185 (1-3): 40-47].

Recent Grants

  • Regulation of EMT During Palate Development, March of Dimes Research Grant, 2006-2010
  • Testing antioxidant compounds on gingival fibroblast cells, PerioSciences, 2008-2010
  • Visualizing cell scaffold interactions in real time, NIH P30 sub-award; 2010-2012
  • Leica SP5 Tandem Scanning Confocal Microscope; 2010-2011
  • Antioxidant effects on gingival fibroblast survival and wound healing; 2008-2012
  • Animal models for antioxident therapy, Periosciences, 2010-2011
  • Identification and function of Nudmp 1 in odontoblast differentiation, 2013-2017 (Consultant)
  • Mechanism of Eph/ephrin signaling in mammalian palatal fusion, 2014-2018 (Co-investigator)

Selected Publications

Cornea Epithelia Project:
  1. Chu, C.L., Reenstra, W.R., and Svoboda, K.K.H. (2000). Extracellular signal-regulated kinase and PI3 kinase are necessary for collagen binding and actin reorganization in avian corneal epithelia. Invest. Ophthal. and Vis. Sci., 41:3374-3382.
  2. Svoboda, K.K.H. and Reenstra, W.R. (2002).  Approaches to studying cellular signaling: A primer for morphologists.  Anatomical Record, The New Anatomist, 269:123-139.
  3. Watanabe, M., Hitomi, M., van der Wee, K., Rothenberg, F., Fisher, S.A., Zucker, P., Svoboda, K.K.H., Goldsmith, E.C. and Nieman, A-L.  (2002)  The pros and cons of apoptosis assays for use in the study of tissues and organs.  Microscopy and Microanalysis 8:5, 375-391. (cover)
  4. Reenstra, W.R., D.L. Orlow, and K.K.H. Svoboda (2002).  ECM-stimulated signaling and actin reorganization in embryonic corneal epithelia are Rho-dependent.  Invest. Ophthal. and Vis. Sci., 43:3181-3189. (cover)
  5. Svoboda, K.K.H., Moessner, P., Field, T., Acevedo, J.  (2004). ROCK inhibitor (Y27632) increases apoptosis and disrupts the actin cortical mat in embryonic avian corneal epithelium.  Developmental Dynamics 229:579-590.
  6. Svoboda, K.K.H., Petroll, M.W. and Jester, J.V.  (2007).  Second harmonic signal analysis of whole embryonic avian corneas.  Microscopy and Microanalysis 12 (Supp 2): 1550-1551.  DOI 10.1017/S1431927607076714.
  7. Svoboda, K.K.H. and Gordon, M.A. (2008).  A tribute to Elizabeth D. Hay 1927-2007.  Developmental Dynamics 237 (10): 2605-06.
  8. Svoboda, K.K.H., Fishman, D.A. and Gordon, M.A. (2008).  The embryonic chick corneal epithelium: A model system for exploring cell-matrix interactions.  Developmental Dynamics 237 (10): 2667-75.
  9. Gordon, M.K., Desantis, A., Deshmukh, M., Lacey, C.J., Hahn, R.A., Beloni, J, Anumolu, S.S., Schlager, J.J., Gallo, M.A., Gerecke, D.R., Heindel, N.D., Svoboda, K.K., Babin, M.C., Sinko, P.J. (2010). Doxycycline hydrogels as a potential therapy for ocular vesicant injury.  J Ocul Pharmacol Ther 26:407-419.
Palate Project:
  1. Kang, P. and Svoboda, K.K.H. (2002).  PI3 kinase activity is required for epithelial-mesenchymal transformation during palate fusion. Developmental Dynamics 225:316-321.
  2. Kang, P. and Svoboda, K.K.H. (2002).  Nicotine inhibits palatal fusion and modulates nicotonic receptors and the PI3 kinase pathway in medial edge epithelia.  Orthodontics and Craniofacial Research 6:129-142.
  3. Kang, P. and Svoboda, K.K.H. (2005).  Epithelial-mesenchymal transformation during craniofacial development.  Journal of Dental Research 84 (8):678-690.
  4. Spears, R. and Svoboda, K.K.H. (2005).  Growth factors and signaling proteins in craniofacial development. Seminars in Orthondontics 11:184-198.
  5. Chang, J.Y.F., Wright J.M. and Svoboda, K.K.H. (2007). Signal transduction pathways involved in epithelial-mesenchymal transition in oral concer compared with other cancers. Cells Tissues Organs 195:40-47.
  6. Yu, W., Kamara, H. and Svoboda, K.K.H. (2008). The role of twist during palate development.  Developmental Dynamics 237 (10): 2716-25.
  7. Yu, W., Ruest, L.B., Svoboda, K.K. (2009). Regulation of epithelial-mesenchymal transition in palatal fusion. Exp Biol Med (Maywood) 234:483-491.
  8. Yu, W., Serrano, M., San Miguel, S., Ruest, L.B., Svoboda K.K. (2009) Cleft lip and palate genetics and application in early embryological development.  Indian J Plast Surg 42 Suppl S35-50.
  9. San Miguel, S., Serrano, M.J., Sachar, A., Henkemeyer, M., Svoboda, K.K., Benson, M.D. (2011).  Ephrin reverse signaling controls palate fusion via a PI3 kinase-dependent mechanism.  Dev Dyn 240:357-364.
  10. Yu, W., Zhang, Y., Ruest, L.B., Svoboda, K.K.  (2013).  Analysis of Snail1 function and regulation by Twist1 in palatal fusion.  Front Physiol 4:12. PMCID 3575576
  11.  Serrano, M.J., Liu J., Svoboda K.K., Nawshad A, Benson, M.D. Ephrin reverse signaling mediates palatal fusion and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition independently of Tgfbeta3 (in revision).
Cartilage Development Project:
  1. Hirsch, M.S., Lunsford, L.E., Trinkaus-Randall, V. and Svoboda, K.K.H. (1997).  Chondrocyte survival and differentiation in situ are integrin mediated.  Developmental Dynamics 210:249-263.
  2. Hirsch, M.S. and Svoboda, K.K.H. (1998).  Establishment of a whole organ culture model that recapitulates normal cartilage development.  BioTechniques 24(4):632-636.
  3. Svoboda, K.K.H. (1998).  Chondrocyte-matrix attachment complexes mediate survival differentiation. Microsc. Res. Tech. 43:112-122.
  4. Harrington, E.K., Lunsford, L.E. and Svoboda, K.K.H. (2004).  Chondrocyte terminal differentiation, apoptosis, and type X collagen expression are downregulated by parathyroid hormone.  Anatomical Record 281A:1286-1295.
  5. Talwar, R.M., Wong, B.S., Svoboda, K. and Harper, R.P. (2006).  Effects of estrogen on chondrocyte proliferation and collagen synthesis in skeletally mature articular cartilage. Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery 64(4):600-609.
  6. Harrington, E.K., Roddy, G., West, R., and Svoboda, K.K.H. (2007). Parathyroid hormone/parathyroid hormone-related peptide modulates growth of avian sternal cartilage via chondrocytic proliferation.  The Anatomical Record: Advances in Integrative Anatomy and Evolutionary Biology (290 (2):155-167.
  7. Harrington, E.K., Coon, D.J., Kern, M.F., Svoboda, K.K. (2010).  PTH stimulated growth and decreased Col-X deposition are phosphotidylinositol-3,4,5 triphosphate kinase and mitogen activating protein kinase dependent in avian sterna.  Anat Rec 293:225-234.
  8. Serrano, M.J., So, S., Svoboda, K.K., Hinton, R.J. (2011).  Cell fate mediators Notch and Twist in mouse mandibular condylar cartilage.  Arch Oral Biol 56:607-613.
Dental Antioxidants and Oral Wound Healing (http://www.dentalantioxidants.com/)
  1. Fang, Y. and Svoboda, K.K.H. (2005).  Nicotine inhibits myofibroblast differentiation in human gingival fibroblasts.  Journal of Cellular Biochemistry 95:1108-1119.

  2. Fang, Y. and Svoboda, K.K.H. (2005).  Nicotine inhibits human gingival fibroblast migration via modulation of Rac signaling pathways.  Journal of Clinical Periodontology, Dec., 32 (12): 1200-1207.

  3. San Miguel, S.M., Opperman, L.A., Allen, E.P., Zielinski, J., Svoboda, K.K. (2010).  Antioxidants counteract nicotine and promote migration via RacGTP in oral fibroblast cells.  J Periodontol 81: 1675-90.

  4. San Miguel, S.M., Opperman, L.A., Allen, E.P., Svoboda, K.K.H. (2011)  Reactive oxygen species and antioxident defense mechanisms in the oral cavity:  A literature review.  Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry.

  5. San Miguel, S.M., Opperman, L.A., Allen, E.P., Zieklinski, J., Svoboda, K.K. (2011). Bioactive antioxidant mixtures promote proliferation and migration on human oral fibroblasts.  Arch Oral Biol 56: 812-822.

  6. San Miguel, S., Opperman L., Allen E., Svoboda K. (2011). Antioxidants hold promise in oral health care.  Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry; March, 32.2.

  7. San Miguel SM, Opperman LA, Allen EP, Zielinski J, Svoboda KK. (2012). Bioactive polyphenol antioxidants protect oral fibroblasts from ROS-inducing agents.  Arch Oral Biol 57:1657-1667.

  8. San Miguel SM, Opperman LA, Allen EP, Zielinski JE, Svoboda KK. (2013) Antioxidant combinations protect oral fibroblasts against metal-induced toxicity.  Arch Oral Biol 58:299-310.

  9. Beltran A., Kerns D, Abraham C, Schneiderman E, Prockop D, Svoboda K. Anti-inflammatory protain TSG-6 promotes early gingival wound healing: An in vivo study.  J Perio (in revision)

Collaborative Studies:.
  1. Maciejewska, I., Cowan, C., Svoboda, K., D'Souza R., Butler, W.T., and Qin, C. (2008).  The NH2-terminal and COOH-terminal fragments of dentin matrix protein 1 (DMP1) localize differently in the compartments of dentin and growth plate of bone.  Journal of Histochemistry & Cytochemistry 57:155-166.
  2. Maciejewska, I., Qin, D., Huang, B., Sun, Y., Svoboda, K., Bonewald L., Butler, W.T., Feng, J.Q., and Qin, C. (2009).  Distinct compartmentalization of dentin matrix protein 1 fragments in mineralized tissues and cells.  Cells Tissues Organs 189:186-191.
  3. Chang, Y.C., Sabourin, C.L., Lu, S.E. Sasaki, T., Svoboda, K.K., Gordon, M.K., Riley, D.J., Casillas, R.P., Gerecke, D.R. (2009). Upregulation of gamma-2 laminin-332 in the mouse ear vesicent wound model.  J Biochem Mol Toxicol 23:172-184.
  4. Lin S.M., Svoboda K.K., Giletto A., Seibert J., Puttaiah R.  (2011). Effects of hydrogen peroxide on dental unit biofilms and treatment water contamination.  Eur J Dent 5:47-59.
  5. Chao, M.W., Kozlosky, J., Po, I.P., Strickland, P.O., Svoboda, K.K., Cooper, K., Laumbach, R.J., Gordon, M.K.  (2011).  Diesel exhaust particle exposure causes redistribution of edothelial tube VE-cadherin.  Toxicology 279:73-84.
  6. Sachar, A., Strom, T.A., San Miguel, S., Serrano, M.J., Svoboda, K., Liu, X.  Cell-matrix and cell-cell interactions of human gingival fibroblasts on three-dimensional nanofibrous gelatin scaffolds.  J Tissue Eng Regen Med 2012 Aug. 13 [Epub ahead of print].
  7. Sachar, A., Strom, T.A., Serrano, M.J., Benson, M.D., Opperman, L.A., Svoboda, K.K., Liu, X. (2012) Osteoblasts responses to three-dimensional nanofibrous gelatin scaffolds.   J Biomed Mater Res A 100:3029-41.
  8. Bolles, J.A., He, J., Svoboda, K.K., Schneiderman, E., Glickman, G.N.  (2013). Comparison of Vibringe, EndoActivator, and needle irrigation on sealer penetration in extracted human teeth.  J Endod 39:708-711.
  9. Chang, Y.C., Wang, J.D., Svoboda, K.K., Casillas, R.P., Laskin, J.D., Gordon, M.K., Gerecke, D.R.  (2013).  Sulfur mustard induces an endoplasmic reticulum stress response in the mouse ear vesicant model. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 268:178-187.
  10.  Puttaiah, R., Svoboda, K.K., Lin, S.M., Montebugnoli, L. Dolci, G., Spratt., and Siebert J. (2012)  Evaluation of an automated dental unit water system's contamination control protocol.  J Contemp Dent Pract 12(1): p. 1-10.
  11. Liu X., Qu, T., Sachar A., Svoboda, K.K.H. (2013) Cell matrix interactions and signal transduction.  Chapter 5, In: Ajaykuma Vishwakarma, Paul Sharpe, Songtao Shi, Xiuping Wang, and Murugan Ramalingam (editors) Stem Cell Biology and Tissue Engineering in Dental Sciences (in press).