Director of the Retinoblastoma Program
Attending Physician
Associate Professor of Clinical Surgery, Keck School of Medicine of USC
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Dr. Jonathan Kim is the Director of the Retinoblastoma Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Dr. Kim provides clinical expertise in the management of pediatric intraocular tumors. He was trained at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Jules Stein Eye Institute at UCLA, and the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Kim is carrying on the legacy established by Dr. Murphree to develop new treatment modalities to save the eyes of children with retinoblastoma and is actively engaged in new research translational research projects. Dr. Kim and the rest of the Retinoblastoma team are dedicated to providing the best clinical care in the world to children afflicted with retinoblastoma.

Clinical Interests

Retinoblastoma, Ocular Melanoma, Congenital Blepharoptosis, Orbital Tumors


Medical School: 

University of Iowa College of Medicine


Scripps Mercy Hospital


California Pacific Medical Center


Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Jules Stein Eye Institute of Los Angeles and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary



Ophthalmology, American Board of Ophthalmology


Berry JL, Jubran R, Kim JW, Wong K, Bababeygy SR, Almarzouki H, Lee TC, Murphree AL. Long-term outcomes of Group D eyes in bilateral retinoblastoma patients treated with chemoreduction and low-dose IMRT salvage.Pediatr Blood Cancer 2013 Apr;60(4):688-93.

Riess JW, Nagpal S, Das M, Neal JW, Kim JW, Wakelee HA. Case Report. A case series of NSCLS patients with different molecular characteristics and choroidal metastases. Improvement in vision with treatment including permetrexed and bevacizumab. J Thorac Oncol 2013 Feb;8(2):e17-8.

Berry JL, Astrahan M, Murphree AL, Lee TC, Kim JW. Outcomes of choroidal melanomas treated with Eye Physics plaques: 20 year review. JAMA Ophthalmol. Epub Nov 2013.

Nugent A, Paulus YM, Kim JW, Moshfeghi D. Multiple myeloma recurrence with optic nerve infiltration diagnosed by vitrectomy, immunohistochemistry, and in-situ hybridization. Eur J Ophthalmol, In Press 2013.

Ko M, Lad SP, Morris C, Kim JW, Lad NM. Orbital fractures: national inpatient trends and complications. Ophthalmic Plast Reconstr Surg, In Press 2013.

Kim JW, Do H, Egbert P. Enucleated eyes after failed intra-arterial chemotherapy in patients with unilateral retinoblastoma: histopathologic evaluation of vitreous seeding. Clin Ophthalmol 2011 (Nov);5:1655-8.

Kim JW, Lee DK, Fishman M. Orbital smooth muscle tumor associated with Epstein Barr Virus in an HIV positive patient. Arch Ophthalmol, 2010 (Aug); 128(8):1084-5.

Kim JW, Yau J, Moshfeghi D, Fishman M. Orbital fibrosis and intraocular recurrence of retinoblastoma following periocular carboplatin. J Pediatric Ophthalmol Strabismus, 2010 May 21:47:e1-4.

Kim JW, Kathpalia V, Dunkel I, Wong RK, Riedel E, Abramson DH. Orbital recurrence of retinoblastoma following enucleation. Br J Ophthalmol 2009 Apr;93(4):463-7.

Brodie SE, Gobin PY, Dunkel IJ, Kim JW, Abramson DH. Persistence of retinal function after selective ophthalmic artery chemotherapy infusion for retinoblastoma. Doc Ophthalmol 2009 Aug;119(1):13-22.

Novetsky DE,Abramson DH, Kim JW, Dunkel IJ. Published international classification of retinoblastoma (ICRB) definitions contain inconsistencies--an analysis of impact.Ophthalmic Genet 2009;30(1):40-4.

Kamdar, NV, Erko A, Ehrlich JS, Kim JW, Kambham N, Chertow GM. Choroidopathy and kidney disease: a case report and review of the literature. Cases Journal 2009;2:7425.

Kim JW, Yates B, Goldberg RA. Total lateral orbitotomy. Orbit 2009;28(6):320-7.

Kim JW, Lee DK. Unusual eyelid, periocular, and periorbital cutaneous malignancies. Int Ophthalmol Clin 2009 fall;49(4):77-96.Kim JW, Abramson DH. Topical treatment options for conjunctival neoplasms. J ClinOphthalmol 2008; Sept; 2(3):503-15.

Abramson DH, Dunkel IJ, Brodie SE, Kim JW, Gobin YP. A Phase I/II study of direct intraarterial (ophthalmic artery) chemotherapy for intraocular retinoblastoma initial results. Ophthalmology 2008 Aug;115(8):1398-404.

Szabo KA,Cheshier SH, Kalani MY, Kim JW, Guzman R."Supraorbital approach for repair of open anterior skull base fracture."J Neurosurg Pediatrics 2008;(2):420-3.

Martin NE, Kim JW, Abramson DH. “Fibrin sealant for retinoblastoma:where are we?” J Oculo Pharmacol Ther 2008 Oct;24(5):433-8.

Kim JW, Dunkel IJ, Abramson DH. Current management strategies for intraocular retinoblastoma. Drugs, 2007;67(15):2173-85.

Research Interests: 

Research Topics

  • Retinoblastoma

  • Targeted eye therapies

Research Overview

Retinoblastoma is a very rare cancer that develops in the eyes of young children, affecting one in 18,000 babies in the United States. Although rare, retinoblastoma is devastating when it occurs, since in the majority of cases there is no family history and therefore no warning. Although there are many effective therapies available to treat retinoblastoma, we face many challenges in trying to save the vision and the lives of affected children. Retinoblastoma develops in the retina of the developing eye due to a specific mutation in a gene on chromosome 13. With proper diagnosis and treatment, spread outside the eye is fortunately rare, but many children lose their vision and sometimes the eye itself. 

From an epidemiologic standpoint, there are many challenges to preventing retinoblastoma. In most children, the cancer develops from a random, rare mutation that cannot be predicted based on any historical or clinical factors. Typically, the diagnosis cannot be made until the tumor becomes quite large and causes signs such as leukocoria (white pupil reflex) or strabismus. Therefore, even well-trained pediatricians are not able to diagnose retinoblastoma at an early stage since there are no external signs of abnormalities and vision in pre-verbal children cannot be accurately measured.

As the Director of the Retinoblastoma service, my role is to provide the full spectrum of clinical services when a child is diagnosed with retinoblastoma. I follow the child from the time of diagnosis to the end of their treatment course as adults. At Children's Hospital Los Angeles, we offer all of the treatments available in the world, including laser photocoagulation, systemic, regional and ocular chemotherapy as well as brachytherapy and external beam radiation treatment.

Our main research mission is to develop targeted therapies for retinoblastoma that will kill cancer cells while sparing other normal cells. Unlike traditional therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation, targeted therapies have the potential to achieve cancer cures while minimizing side effects. To accomplish this goal, we need partnerships between experts in different fields, from cell biologists to radiation oncologists to hematology oncologists. We also need collaboration between clinicians and basic science researchers at The Saban Research Institute. The basic paradigm for developing a new therapy starts with an idea based on a clinical need, followed by development of a research strategy based on basic research principles. We may test the therapy on retinoblastoma cells in a test tube (in vitro), followed by an animal model (in vivo). If promising results are achieved, then a limited clinical trial on carefully selected patients may follow. Translational research is the key to achieving progress in this field, and we are committed to developing new therapies to improve clinical outcomes in our children with retinoblastoma. 

Visit the Jonathan Kim Laboratory.

In The News - Press Releases

4650 Sunset Blvd.
MS #88
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Phone: 323-361-2347Office
Fax: 323-361-3512Fax