João M. Rocha holds a 5-year degree in Biological Engineering, specialization in Chemical and Food Technology (UMinho), and a PhD in Food Science and Engineering (ISA-ULisbon). Among complementary professional qualifications are the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in SimaPro®, HACCP and ISO 9001:2000 certifications. He is the Chair and Grant Holder Scientific Representative of the COST Action SOURDOMICS (CA18101). Currently, he is also the Secretary of the General Assembly board of the National Association of Science and Technology Researchers (ANICT)
His research activities were developed between Portugal and Finland (UHelsinki) in the fields of microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, chemistry, chromatography, mass spectrometry and engineering. One of the first contact with sourdough science was during his PhD, with the microbial and lipid characterization of baking raw-materials (maize, rye and wheat flours, mother-doughs and sourdoughs) and broa – a traditional sourdough bread made of regional maize and rye flours by farmers in the Northern Portugal.
Previous and current research activities and interests related with cereal science and sourdough biotechnology encompasses: Phenotypic and genotypic screening and characterization of microorganisms; Design and development of fermentation processes and starter cultures; Production, extraction and purification of functional microbial metabolites; Design innovative food products and processes and valorisation of by-products and food wastes; Food safety and ascertain the health promoting effects and environmental sustainability of food. Among others, his research activities also involved: Development of methodologies for the extraction, separation and characterization of food constituents by gas and liquid chromatographic and mass spectrometry, e.g. biogenic amines, lipids and polyphenols.; Characterization of biopolymers, formulation and characterization of films, edible coatings and biodegradable packaging; Batch and semi-continuous fermentations to yield baker's yeast, lipids and hydrogen; Life Cycle Assessment of products and processes; and Protein crystallization in droplet-based multiphase microfluidic bioreactors.
His professional career as a researcher was always fulfilled with other intensive activities: Assistant professor of several courses, viz. General Microbiology, Microbiology, Molecular Biology of the Cell (Genetics), General Chemistry I (Inorganic Chemistry) and II (Physical Chemistry and Kinetic Physics), Toxicology, Pharmacotoxicology, Chemistry and Structure of Foods, Applied Biochemistry (Enzyme kinetics), Introduction to Industrial Processes and General Biochemistry I, in the College of Biotechnology, Portuguese Catholic University (ESB-UCP) and UMinho; and Trainer in courses of Environmental Chemistry, Analytical Chemistry, Laboratories of Chemistry and Basic Food Chemistry. He was also Co-founder, administrator and managing partner of a biotech start-up, with the core-business in the processing of dairy by-products and isolation of compounds with high-added value.