Zeljka Smit-McBride, Ph.D. for UC Davis Health

Zeljka Smit-McBride, Ph.D.

Associate Adjunct Professor, Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Science



Ocular Surface Disease


Locations and Contact

Tupper Hall

Tupper Hall- UC Davis

Davis, CA 95616

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Research/Academic Interests

Dr. Smit-McBride research interest is in elucidating molecular mechanisms of ocular diseases, such as age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy (DR), and X-linked retinoschisis (XLRS). Her focus is on post-transcriptional control of gene expression involving microRNA, their target mRNAs, and their involvement in age-related ocular diseases. She is pursuing identifying early biomarkers and therapeutic targets for future gene therapies by using gene expression profiling of ocular transcripts, bioinformatics, and biological pathway analysis.



Center/Program Affiliation

Eye Center
Genome Center

Undergraduate School

B.S., Mol. Biology and Physiology, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Yugoslavia 1979

Other School

Ph.D., Genetics, UC Davis, Davis CA 1990

Other School

M.S., Genetics, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Yugoslavia 1983


Microbiology/Cancer Biology, UC Davis, Davis CA 1990-1994


Med. Micro/HIV, UC Davis, Davis CA 1995-1999

Member of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi (1986-present), 2023

NIH Postdoctoral Fellowship, 1991, 1992, 1993

Graduate Student Travel Grant at UC Davis, 1989

UC Davis Regent's Fellowship in Genetics, 1986, 1987

State of California Graduate Fellowship, 1985, 1986

Published work: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/zeljka.smit-mcbride.1/bibliography/public/

Ye EA, Zeng Y, Thomas S, Sun N, Smit-McBride Z, Sieving PA. XLRS Rat with Rs1-/Y Exon-1-Del Shows Failure of Early Postnatal Outer Retina Development. Genes (Basel). 2022 Oct 31;13(11):1995. doi:10.3390/genes13111995. PMID:36360232.

Smit-McBride Z, Morse LS. MicroRNA and diabetic retinopathy-biomarkers and novel therapeutics. Ann Transl Med. 2021 Aug;9(15):1280. doi:10.21037/atm-20-5189. PMID:34532417.

Smit-McBride Z, Nguyen AT, Yu AK, Modjtahedi SP, Hunter AA, Rashid S, Moisseiev E, Morse LS. Unique molecular signatures of microRNAs in ocular fluids and plasma in diabetic retinopathy. PLoS One. 2020 Jul 21;15(7):e0235541. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0235541. PMID:32692745.

Yazdanyar A, Zhang P, Dolf C, Smit-McBride Z, Cary W, Nolta JA, Zawadzki RJ, Marsh-Armstrong N, Park SS. Effects of intravitreal injection of human CD34+ bone marrow stem cells in a murine model of diabetic retinopathy. Exp Eye Res. 2020 Jan;190:107865. doi:10.1016/j.exer.2019.107865. Epub 2019 Nov 1. PMID:31682846.

Smit-McBride Z, Nguyen J, Elliott GW, Wang Z, McBride RA, Nguyen AT, Oltjen SL, Yiu G, Thomasy SM, Pinkerton KE, Lee ES, Cunefare D, Farsiu S, Morse LS. Effects of aging and environmental tobacco smoke exposure on ocular and plasma circulatory microRNAs in the Rhesus macaque. Mol Vis. 2018 Sep 24;24:633-646. PMID:30294202.

Yiu G, Tieu E, Nguyen AT, Wong B, Smit-McBride Z. Genomic Disruption of VEGF-A Expression in Human Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells Using CRISPR-Cas9 Endonuclease. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2016 Oct 1;57(13):5490-5497. doi:10.1167/iovs.16-20296. PMID:27768202.

Smit-McBride Z, Moisseiev E, Modjtahedi SP, Telander DG, Hjelmeland LM, Morse LS. Comparison of In Vivo Gene Expression Profiling of RPE/Choroid following Intravitreal Injection of Dexamethasone and Triamcinolone Acetonide. J Ophthalmol. 2016;2016:9856736. doi:10.1155/2016/9856736. Epub 2016 Jun 27. PMID:27429799.

Smit-McBride Z, Forward KI, Nguyen AT, Bordbari MH, Oltjen SL, Hjelmeland LM. Age-dependent increase in miRNA-34a expression in the posterior pole of the mouse eye. Mol Vis. 2014 Nov 5;20:1569-78. PMID:25489229.

Smit-McBride Z, Modjtahedi SP, Cessna CT, Telander DG, Hjelmeland LM, Morse LS. In vivo gene expression profiling of retina postintravitreal injections of dexamethasone and triamcinolone at clinically relevant time points for patient care. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011 Nov 21;52(12):8965-78. doi:10.1167/iovs.10-7084. PMID:21873667.