Following his training as a Fulbright Fellow in Human Genetics at the University of Copenhagen, Dr. Murphree began his medical training at Baylor College of Medicine with an established interest in human genetics. He discovered ophthalmology in medical school as well as an abiding interest in pediatrics. He combined those three interests by focusing during his ophthalmology residency on ophthalmic genetic diseases including retinoblastoma.
Dr. Murphree assumed the position of Head, Pediatric Ophthalmology in the USC Department of Ophthalmology and Head, Ophthalmology at CHLA, upon completion of his fellowship in pediatric ophthalmology at John Hopkins Hospital. With his first NIH grant, he demonstrated by deletion mapping that the RB1 gene was located in 13q14. Subsequently he developed a clinical referral practice focused on ocular oncology and developed the largest retinoblastoma referral center west of the Mississippi.
During his retinoblastoma clinical practice, Dr. Murphree recognized an unmet clinical need for a wide-field retinal camera to document the intraocular findings associated with retinoblastoma. He recruited a team of engineers and collaborated with optical engineers in private industry. The result was the invention of the RetCam®, which is a commercially available pediatric retinal camera used worldwide to document not only retinoblastoma but also many other retinal abnormalities including retinopathy of prematurity. The RetCam III is currently licensed and marketed by Clarity Medical Systems, Inc.
Dr. Murphree’s work on chemo thermotherapy published in 1983 was a model for retinoblastoma treatments using chemotherapy IV combined with local treatments. He is the author or coauthor of more than 70 major papers on retinoblastoma genetics and retinoblastoma care.