J. William Harbour, M.D., is Professor and Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He specializes in ocular oncology.

Dr. Harbour earned his medical degree at Johns Hopkins University and completed a residency in ophthalmology at the Wills Eye Hospital of Thomas Jefferson University. He received advanced training through a fellowship in vitreoretinal diseases and surgery at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute of the University of Miami, a fellowship in ocular oncology at the University of California, San Francisco, and research training in molecular oncology at Washington University in St. Louis.

Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology, he joined the UT Southwestern faculty in 2021.

Previously, Dr. Harbour held the Dr. Mark J. Daily, M.D., Endowed Chair at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, where he also served as Director of Ocular Oncology and Vice Chair for Translational Research. He also served as Associate Director for Basic Science at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center of the University of Miami.

Dr. Harbour’s clinical interests focus on ocular tumors such as uveal melanoma, retinoblastoma, and lymphoma. He has trained many residents and fellows and pioneered new surgical methods in fine needle biopsy, laser treatment, and brachytherapy of ocular tumors. He also has been awarded patents for innovations in genetic prognostic testing for uveal melanoma.

His research interests include the use of genetic and genomic technologies to better understand, diagnose, and treat eye cancers. His team discovered three of the most important genomic drivers of metastasis in uveal melanoma, as well as key genomic events in retinoblastoma. His contributions to the field have been recognized by the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology’s Cogan Award and the Macula Society’s Paul Henkind and Rosenthal Awards, among many others.

Dr. Harbour has delivered more than 300 invited scientific lectures and published more than 200 peer-reviewed scientific articles and book chapters.

He is an Associate Editor for Melanoma Research and has served on the editorial boards of Archives of Ophthalmology, Translational Vision Science & Technology, Melanoma Management, Expert Review of Ophthalmology, and Faculty of 1000.

Dr. Harbour is a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Association of American Physicians, American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Association for Cancer Research, and American Association of Ophthalmic Oncologists and Pathologists, and he is the founder of the Collaborative Ocular Oncology Group.

Education & Training
  • Medical School - Johns Hopkins University (1985-1990)
  • Internship - Greater Baltimore Medical Center (1990-1991), Internal Medicine
  • Residency - Wills Eye Hospital (1991-1994), Ophthalmology
  • Fellowship - Bascom Palmer Eye Institute (1994-1995), Retina
  • Fellowship - University of California San Francisco (1995-1996), Ocular Oncology Pathology
  • Research Fellowship - Washington University School of Medicine (1996-1999), Molecular Oncology
Professional Associations & Affiliations
  • American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • American Association for Cancer Research
  • American Association of Ophthalmic Oncologists and Pathologists
  • American Ophthalmological Society
  • American Society of Retina Specialists
  • Association of American Physicians
  • Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
  • Children’s Oncology Group
  • Collaborative Ocular Oncology Group (Founder)
  • International Society of Ocular Oncology
  • J. Donald M. Gass Society
  • Macula Society
  • Retina Society
  • Society of Heed Fellows
  • Society for Melanoma Research
Honors & Awards
  • Alcon Research Institute Award 2016
  • Retina Research Foundation/Kayser Global Award 2015, Pan-American Association of Ophthalmology
  • Silver Fellow 2014, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
  • Senior Scientific Investigator 2014, Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc.
  • Paul Henkind Memorial Award and Lecture 2014, Macula Society
  • Honor Award 2013, American Society of Retina Specialists
  • Shaler Richardson, MD Service to Medicine Award 2013, Florida Society of Ophthalmology
  • Senior Achievement Award 2012, American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • Research Award 2011, Ocular Melanoma Foundation
  • Rosenthal Award 2008, Macula Society
  • Cogan Award 2005, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
  • Achievement Award 2003, American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • Physician-Scientist Award 2002, Research to Prevent Blindness, Inc.
  • Heed-Knapp Ophthalmic Fellowship 1995-1996, University of California, San Francisco
  • Heed Ophthalmic Foundation Fellowship 1994-1995, Bascom Palmer Eye Institute
Books & Publications
  • Genetics and genomics of ocular cancer
  • Prognostic biomarkers for ocular cancer
  • Mechanisms of metastasis in ocular cancer
  • Molecular targeted therapies for ocular cancer

Clinical Focus

  • Ocular oncology
  • Retinoblastoma
  • Uveal melanoma
  • Ocular Lymphoma

See More

J. William Harbour, M.D.

Dr. Harbour talks about his approach to patient care.