Joseph initially undertook the studies of applied biomedical science in the former Institute of Health Care, now Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Malta and subsequently followed specialised training in Molecular Genetics and Haematology. His research career began in 2004 when he formally joined the Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, Department of Physiology and Biochemistry (University of Malta) as an MSc student and participated in the final stages of the GEOPARKINSON project, an FP5 EU-funded project (QLK4-CT-1999-01133). In 2006, Joseph enrolled as a research assistant on an FP6 EU-funded project – Infrastructure for Thalassaemia Research Network (ITHANET RI-2004-026539) that started his career in experimental haematology and haemoglobin genetics. Subsequent work unveiled the molecular genetics of the HPFH KLF1-related condition (OMIM 613566) and established KLF1 as a novel quantitative trait locus for HbF (HBFQTL6). He has now published over a 100 publications that include both conference and peer-reviewed articles. His highest accolades include two high impact first-author publications in Nature Genetics, EMBO J, Haematologica, Human Mutation and Pharmacogenomics.
Joseph's current research interests as an academic with the Department of Applied Biomedical Science continue to focus on the molecular genetics of developmental globin gene switching and control. Together with his Borg Group he conducts extensive research on KLF1 erythroid-specific transcription factor, utilising both genomic (DNA-based) and transcriptomic (RNA-based) approaches in in-vitro (cell cultures) and in-vivo (clinical patients) models.
He is now also a member of the Analysis Working Group at the Nasa Gene Lab, USA run by Afshin Behesti and the ESA Space Omics Topical Team, studying amongst others the effects of spaceflight on erythropoiesis for both astronauts living on board the ISS and other missions and a range of mouse model organisms sent to space and back. This work is also done in collaboration with Christopher Mason at the Institute for Computational Biomedicine, Weill Cornell Medicine, USA.