Joanne graduated from Leeds University with a BSc (Hons) degree in Sports Science and Physiology. She obtained a PhD in Respiratory Medicine from the University of Nottingham, under the supervision of Prof Alan Knox, where her research investigated the 'Production of soluble angiogenic factors by airway smooth muscle'. This research was a continuation of a molecular and cellular research project begun during her Oncology MSc degree (University of Nottingham). During her PhD, Joanne was also awarded a Universitas 21 scholarship to spend time working in the laboratories of Prof Alastair Stewart at the University of Melbourne's Department of Pharmacology.
Following her PhD Joanne worked for a biotechnology company, developing and optimising a directed chemotherapy assay for determining cancer treatments for pets. Alongside this role, she continued working at the University of Nottingham in the Division of Epidemiology and Public Health on a number of projects, which included assessing the impact of the National Schools Fruit Scheme on the health and diet of children and investigating the effectiveness of smoking intervention programs.
Joanne then began researching cardiac stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, focusing on the cellular and molecular responses of the heart to exercise at Liverpool John Moore's University. She then transferred to Mount Sinai Heart, New York to continue the collaboration and to work with Dr Valentin Fuster and Prof Roger Hajjar investigating the dedifferentiation of adult cardiomyocytes and the protective paracrine effects of cardiac progenitor cells on cultured adult myocytes.
On her return to the UK, Joanne was involved in a variety of basic science, epidemiological and clinical research projects at the University of Nottingham and Loughborough University.