Dr. Svoboda

Regents Professor
Associate Department Head - Teaching
Oral Biology 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

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

  • Associate Department Head, Teaching (2018 - )
  • 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)
  • Director, Oral Biology Graduate Program, (2016 - present)
  • 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 (2009-2015)
  • 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)
  • Institutional Service Excellence Award, Texas A&M College of Dentistry (2017)

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)

Publications