University of South Florida Department of Cell Biology, Microbiology and Molecular Biology

University of South Florida Department of Cell Biology, Microbiology and Molecular Biology

Maria Cecilia do Nascimento Nunes obtained her Ph.D. in Biotechnology from the Catholic University in Portugal and she is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cell Biology, Microbiology and Molecular Biology at the University of South Florida, and a Courtesy Faculty in the Department of Horticultural Sciences and in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at the University of Florida. She is also a research member of the University of Florida-IFAS Center for Food Distribution and Retailing. The main focus of Dr. Nunes research is the study of biochemical responses of food tissues, systems and bioactive compounds to growing/production environment and to environmental and physical conditions normally encountered throughout the food supply chain. Other aspects of her research consist of using directed stress and temperature optimization to maximize the genetic potential of fruits and vegetables for sensory and nutritional quality, in particular bioactive compounds. Results from her research help shed light on the biological mechanisms that lead to food deterioration as well as on the impact of environmental and physical stress on the quality and chemical elements of foods. Dr. Nunes research also helps improve the handling, distribution and marketing system to reduce food waste, increase food security and provide the consumer with better food quality.