Professor Harris was born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1959. He completed his undergraduate training in 1984 followed by an M.S. and Ph.D. from Indiana University, Bloomington.
In 1993, he moved to Indianapolis where he held the appointment of Assistant Professor in the departments of Ophthalmology and Physiology. At this point he also founded and became Director of the Glaucoma Research and Diagnostic Center. The center is now considered the leading one worldwide for studying blood supply to human eyes in both health and disease. Specifically, the center is known for developing non-invasive imaging technologies to assess the blood supply to the optic nerve and its' relationship with diseases such as glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration. The center is composed of engineers, scientists and physicians who work together to study these conditions. Professor Harris has received numerous grants from sponsors such as the NIH, pharmaceutical companies and also the biomedical technology industry. In 1995, Professor Harris was the recipient of the Edmund Benjamin Spaeth Oration Award and the distinguished Research to Prevent Blindness, William and Mary Greve International Research Scholar Award.
Professor Harris is the principal author or co-author of more than 130 peer reviewed publications, 2 books and 23 book chapters and has presented his findings in more than 35 countries in the past five years.
In 1996, he received accelerated promotion to the rank of Associate Professor, followed by his promotion to full Professor in the departments of Ophthalmology and Physiology in July of 2000. This followed with the first endowed chair (Letzter Professor) of Ophthalmology which became an official appointment on November 1, 2000.