Writtle University College and ARU have merged. Writtle’s full range of college, degree, postgraduate and short courses will still be delivered on the Writtle campus. See our guide to finding Writtle information on this site.

Dr Jo-Anne Johnson

Associate Professor
Faculty of Health, Medicine and Social Care
School of Medicine
Research Supervision:

Jo-Anne is a paediatrician with a sub-speciality interest in respiratory paediatrics. She is currently the Undergraduate Assessment Lead, Research & Scholarship Lead, Phase 2 Lead, and Paediatric Lead at the School of Medicine. She runs the Paediatric Sleep Service at East Suffolk, North Essex Foundation Trust.

[email protected]


She completed a Wellcome Trust-funded PhD in respiratory developmental biology at the University of Cambridge in 2018. Following her PhD she became an Associate Lecturer at the newly opened ARU School of Medical School, and lead for Embryology, Genetics and Paediatrics. Subsequently she became Phase 2 Lead, developing and leading the medical curriculum for 2 inaugural year groups, before becoming Undergraduate Assessment Lead, leading on assessment strategy, design, delivery and governance across the 5 year MBChB program. In her role as Research and Scholarship Lead, she aims to establish the School of Medicine as a research centre.

Clinically, she practices as a Consultant Paediatrician at Colchester Hospital where she is the lead for Paediatric Sleep Medicine and co-leads the Paediatric Cystic Fibrosis service.

Research interests
  • Ciliogenesis
  • Stem cell fate decision-making
  • Transcriptional reprogramming
  • Ambulatory sleep studies in children
  • Cystic-fibrosis
  • Sleep medicine

In 2009 Jo-Anne was awarded a Research Fellowship in Translational Medicine from the Biomedical Research Centre, University of Cambridge. She worked with Professor Sir John Gurdon (winner of Nobel Prize in Medicine 2012) at the Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge on developing a technique for monitoring pluripotency gene transcription in real time during nuclear reprogramming.

Following this she secured a very highly competitive Clinical Research Training Fellowship from the Wellcome Trust and under the co-supervision of Professor Sir John Gurdon and Dr Emma Rawlins, focused on factors governing stem cell fate in airway epithelium.

Current research interests include; the optimisation of the diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnoea in children; genetic associations with sleep disorders, and paediatric inflammatory syndrome temporally associated with Sars-Cov-2 (PIMS-TS).

  • PhD (University of Cambridge, Dept of Pathology) November 2018
  • MRCPCH June 2006
  • MBChB - 1996-2001, University of Leeds, UK
  • FHEA September 2021
Memberships, editorial boards
  • Member of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health
Selected recent publications

Johnson JA. Children’s asthma and sleep apnoea has improved during lockdown – a clinician explains why that might be. The Conversation. 2020, Jul 3.

Johnson JA, Watson JK, Nikolić MZ, Rawlins EL. Fank1 and Jazf1 promote multiciliated celldifferentiation in the mouse airway epithelium. Biol Open. 2018 Apr 16;7(4). pii: bio033944. doi: 10.1242/bio.033944.

Marko Z. Nikolić, Oriol Caritg, Quitz Jeng, Jo-Anne Johnson, Dawei Sun, Kate J. Howell, Jane L. Brady, Usua Laresgoiti, George Allen, Matthias Zilbauer, Adam Giangreco, Emma L. Rawlins, Human embryonic lung epithelial tips are multipotent progenitors that can be expanded in vitro as long-term self-renewing organoids. ELife. 2017 Jun 30;6. pii: e26575. doi: 10.7554/eLife.26575.

Correia LL, Johnson JA, McErlean P, Bauer J, Farah H, Rassl DM, Rintoul RC, Sethi T, Lavender P, Rawlins EL, Littlewood TD, Evan GI, McCaughan FM. SOX2 Drives Bronchial Dysplasia in a Novel Organotypic Model of Early Human Squamous Lung Cancer. Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2017 Feb 15.

Balasooriya GI, Johnson JA, Basson MA, Rawlins EL. An FGFR1-SPRY2 Signalling Axis Limits Basal Cell Proliferation in the Steady-State Airway Epithelium. Dev Cell. 2016 Apr 4;37(1):85-97

Johnson JA, Bush A, Buchdahl R. Does presenting with meconium ileus affect the prognosis of children with cystic fibrosis? Pediatr Pulmonol. 2010 Oct;45(10):951-8.