Macular Carotenoids Committee Member, Florida International University, Florida, USA
Professor John Landrum, is a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the Florida International University in Miami, Florida. In 2007, Professor Landrum served as the chair for the prestigious Gordon Research Conference on Carotenoids and was vice-chairman in 2004. He has also served as chair of the Carotenoid Interactive Research Group, the Macula and Nutrition Group, and is the editor of the 2010 volume: Carotenoids: Physical, Chemistry and Biological Functions and Properties. He served as the treasurer for the International Carotenoid Society from 2005-2011 and is currently president-elect. He became interested in carotenoids during the early 1980s soon after joining the University. During much of the past three decades, his research has focused on the study of carotenoids,
specifically, the xanthophylls, lutein and zeaxanthin. Much of his work has been a collaborative study with Professor Richard A. Bone (biophysics), also at FIU. They were the first to apply modern methods to confirm the presence of lutein and identify zeaxanthin in the retina. Their early work utilized HPLC, UV-vis, and chemical derivatization and mass spectrometry to establish the unambiguous identity of the macular xanthophylls. In the early 1990s they identified meso-zeaxanthin as a principal component of the human macular pigment. In 1997, their pioneering study demonstrated that dietary manipulation could produce highly significant increases of the macular pigment optical density. In a case study in 2001, Landrum and Bone provided clear evidence that AMD is associated with reduced levels of xanthophylls in the retina. Dr. Landrum has modeled the conformational energetics of lutein and zeaxanthin using density functional methods which has provided an energetic basis for structural differences in these molecules. In recent work, Professor Landrum’s group has shown that the composition of the macular pigment varies during the development of the retina following birth.