Zeljka Smit-McBride, M.S., Ph.D.

Zeljka Smit-McBride, M.S., Ph.D.


Ocular Surface Disease

Molecular and Cellular Biology


Genomic Medicine

Bioinformatics (Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning)


  • Associate Adjunct Professor


Tupper Hall

Davis, CA 95616
Driving Directions

Primary Phone:

Additional Phone Numbers

Clinic Referral Phone: 530-752-4935
Physician Referrals: 800-4-UCDAVIS (800-482-3284)

Research/Academic Interests

Dr. Smit-McBride is a vision scientist whose research focuses on genetics and epigenetics causes of age-related ocular disease. She uses a genomics and bioinformatics approach to identify early biomarkers and potential targets for personalized gene therapy. She is interested in using non-coding RNA, including microRNAs, as therapeutics and engineering exosomes as natural delivery vehicles.



Center/Program Affiliation

Eye Center
Genome Center


Ph.D., Genetics, UC Davis, Davis CA 1989

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

B.S., University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Yugoslavia 1980

Professional Memberships

America Association for the Advancement of Science

Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology

Honors and Awards

Member of The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi (1986-present), 2020

NIH Postdoctoral Fellow, Microbiology, 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

Distinguished Scholar Tuition Fee Fellowship, 1984, 1985

Select Recent Publications

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.

Moisseiev E, Smit-McBride Z, Oltjen S, Zhang P, Zawadzki RJ, Motta M, Murphy CJ, Cary W, Annett G, Nolta JA, Park SS. Intravitreal Administration of Human Bone Marrow CD34+ Stem Cells in a Murine Model of Retinal Degeneration. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2016 Aug 1;57(10):4125-35. doi:10.1167/iovs.16-19252. PMID:27537262.

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.

Hunter AA 3rd, Smit-McBride Z, Anderson R, Bordbari MH, Ying GS, Kim ES, Park SS, Telander DG, Dunaief JL, Hjelmeland LM, Morse LS. GSTM1 and GSTM5 Genetic Polymorphisms and Expression in Age-Related Macular Degeneration. Curr Eye Res. 2016;41(3):410-6. doi:10.3109/02713683.2015.1016179. Epub 2015 Apr 21. PMID:25897651.

Smit-McBride Z, Oltjen SL, Radu RA, Estep J, Nguyen AT, Gong Q, Hjelmeland LM. Localization of complement factor H gene expression and protein distribution in the mouse outer retina. Mol Vis. 2015 Feb 5;21:110-23. PMID:25684976.

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.

Verhoeven D, George MD, Hu W, Dang AT, Smit-McBride Z, Reay E, Macal M, Fenton A, Sankaran-Walters S, Dandekar S. Enhanced innate antiviral gene expression, IFN-α, and cytolytic responses are predictive of mucosal immune recovery during simian immunodeficiency virus infection. J Immunol. 2014 Apr 1;192(7):3308-18. doi:10.4049/jimmunol.1302415. Epub 2014 Mar 7. PMID:24610016.