Go to content

Record Online - Nov/Dec 2009

BDRO Header

Svoboda named Regents Professor by Texas A&M System board

Dr. Kathy SvobodaThe Texas A&M University System Board of Regents named Dr. Kathy Svoboda of Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry as a 2009 Regents Professor.

Svoboda, professor and graduate program director in biomedical sciences, was honored at the board of regents' Dec. 3 meeting in College Station, Texas. In all, 13 A&M System faculty members were designated Regents Professors for 2008-09.

Established in 1996, the Regents Professor Award is bestowed annually by the board of regents in recognition of awardees’ exemplary contributions to their university or agency and to the people of Texas.

Svoboda, who joined HSC-BCD in 1998, teaches general histology and developmental and cell biology among other foundational courses for medical and dental students, as well as graduate-level courses in molecular biology, embryology and craniofacial development. She also dedicates a significant amount of time to mentoring new faculty members and graduate students.

 “It is an honor to be recognized by the board of regents for mentoring students, postdoctoral fellows and young faculty in addition to my research in developmental cell biology,” said Svoboda. “This recognition emphasizes the importance of training new researchers to address the critical need for the systematic study of cellular mechanisms that contribute to birth defects and underscores the importance of ongoing developmental research across the Texas A&M System.”

Svoboda earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Nebraska and her master’s degree in human genetics and a doctorate in anatomy from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship and was an instructor in anatomy and cell biology at Harvard Medical School before joining the Boston University School of Medicine, where she became an associate professor in anatomy and neurobiology and co-director of the school’s confocal microscopy facility.

Svoboda has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health and other sources since 1983 and has more than 100 peer-reviewed publications. Her current research focus is understanding how cells communicate with their environment during fetal development. She is especially interested in discovering the way to prevent cleft lip and palate. In another project, she is studying how nicotine decreases oral wound healing with the objective of finding treatments that will counteract the effects of smoking or other insults that may increase periodontal disease.

An elected officer of the American Association of Anatomists for 12 years, Svoboda served as president from 2005-2007 and was named a fellow in 2009.

“Dr. Svoboda is certainly worthy of the recognition of Regents Professor as evidenced by her hard work and significant contribution to the areas of research and teaching,” said Dr. James S. Cole, HSC-BCD dean. “We are fortunate to have her at Baylor College of Dentistry.”

Award recipients are designated as Regents Professors for the duration of their service or employment within the A&M System and are provided a $9,000 stipend payable in $3,000 increments over three consecutive years. Each receives a special medallion bearing the seal of the A&M System and a certificate signed by the chancellor and the chairman of the board of regents.

Since its adoption, 118 faculty members from the A&M System universities, agencies and the health science center have been recognized with the award. The designation as Regents Professor places Svoboda on a growing list of HSC-BCD faculty members to receive this distinction. Prior winners from the dental school include:

  • Dr. Larry Bellinger
  • Dr. William H. Binnie 
  • Dr. David Carlson
  • Dr. William W. Hallmon

  • Dr. Toru Okabe
  • Dr. N. Sue Seale 

  • Dr. R. Gilbert Triplett
  • Dr. John M. Wright