Johannes von Lintig, PhD

Department of Pharmacology
School of Medicine
Silvia Balslew Page - William J. Reinhart MD Professor
Visual Science Training Program
Specialized Animal Core of the Visual Science Center

Research Information

Research Interests

Johannes von Lintig graduated from the University of Freiburg (Germany) with a Diploma in Biology in 1989. He received his PhD degree (summa cum laude) from the department of Plant Biochemistry, working on plant-microbe interactions. Upon completion of his PhD in 1993, he explored the metabolism of carotenoid pigments, first in plants and later in animals. In 1998, he started his own research laboratory at the University of Freiburg. His research projects elucidated the molecular and biochemical basis of carotenoid absorption from the diet, transport in the body, and metabolism to biological active compounds, such as the visual chromophore and vitamin A hormone. He initially analyzed this pathway in Drosophila and has continued research in zebrafish and mouse models at Case Western Reserve University. Dr. von Lintig’s research received continuous funding from the German Research Foundation and after his move to the United States from the NIH. His research findings are published in more than 120 peer-reviewed papers (h-index 59) and include the identification of the vitamin A forming enzyme, carotenoid transporters, and binding proteins. Mutations in the corresponding genes impair vision in animal models and are associated with blinding diseases in humans. Dr. von Lintig has mentored more than 20 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who pursue successful careers in academia and in industry. His mentoring philosophy provides an inclusive training approach for students from their entrance into biomedical research until they established themselves in their careers. Dr. von Lintig is the course director of PHRM401, one of the flagship courses in Pharmacology, and the director of the Visual Science Training Program (VSTP) and its associated T32 training grant. Nationally and internationally, Dr. von Lintig supports the carotenoid research community as co-chair and chair of the Gordon Research Conference on Carotenoids, scientific organizer of the first and second Virtual International Conferences on Carotenoids (VICC), and as the President of the International Carotenoid Society (


Bandara, S., Ramkumar, S., Imanishi, S., Thomas, L.D., Sawant. O.M., Imanishi, Z., and von Lintig, J. (2022) Aster proteins mediate the cellular transport of carotenoids in mammals. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 119(15):e2200068119.

Widjaja-Adhi, M.A.K., Palczewski, G., Dale, K., Knauss, E.A., Kelly, M.E., Golczak, M., Levine, A.D., von Lintig, J. (2017) Transcription factor ISX mediates the cross talk between diet and immunity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 114:11530-11535.

Amengual, J., Lobo, G.P., Golczak, M., Hessel, S., Li, H.N.M., Klimova, T., Hoppel, C.M., Wyss, A., Palczewski, K., and von Lintig, J. (2011) A mitochondrial enzyme degrades carotenoids and protects against oxidative stress. FASEB J. 25(3):948-959.

Isken, A., Golczak, M., Oberhauser, V., Hunzelmann, S., Driever, W., Imanishi, Y., Palczewski K., von Lintig, J. (2008) RBP4 disrupts vitamin A uptake homeostasis in a STRA6-deficient animal model for Matthew-Wood syndrome. Cell Metabolism. (3):258-68.

von Lintig J., and Vogt K. (2000) Filling the gap in vitamin A research: Molecular Identification of an enzyme cleaving beta-carotene to retinal J. Biol. Chem. 275: 11915-20