Maria João is a senior research chemist at LNEG – National Laboratory of Energy and Geology, a government laboratory created in 2009 over LNETI, a multidisciplinary research laboratory where she had worked since 1983 after the completion of her PhD in Chemistry (Imperial College, London 1976) and a period as researcher at the Gulbenkian Foundation Science Laboratories. Her research domain lies in the area of Chemistry, namely in natural products, organic and analytical chemistry. More recently she was appointed chief industrial property officer at LNEG and has since completed post-graduations in Industrial Pharmacy, Management of Industrial Property, and Intellectual Property. She has been active in patent litigation since 1994 and has an interest in the evaluation of inventiveness and in the theory of equivalents.

She has authored more than 100 publications, 18 patents and 7 books. She teaches in various M.Sc. courses and has also supervised Ph.D. and M.Sc. students in LNETI laboratories.

A founding member of AMONET – Portuguese Association of Women Scientists ( in 2004, Maria João has served since 2005 in the Supervisory Board. She has been active in raising the awareness in relation with women scientists issues and is currently a member of the International Advisory Board of the EU project TRIGGER (TRansforming Institutions by Gendering Contents and Gaining Equality in Research) ( .
She is also a founding member of Meninas de Odivelas – Associação (MOA), an association aiming at saving the only boarding school for girls in Portugal (Instituto de Odivelas), preserving its educational project and denouncing the gender issues involved in its recent extinction by administrative order.