The Wooten Laboratory was established in 2008 by East Carolina University Medical & Health Science Foundation. This reflects the commitment of East Carolina University in fostering translational research in finding the causes and mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Frontotemporal dementia, by encouraging collaborative research on campus. The effort to establish a multidisciplinary, virtual research center has become possible because of the generous gifts from Wooten family. Funding medical research serves a deeply important cause for Dr. Harriet Wooten that also commemorates her husband’s accomplishments.
Dr. John Wooten was the first orthopedic surgeon east of I-95 when he opened his practice in 1954. A vivacious, intelligent man, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s several years before his death in 2004, at 80. Funding from the Wooten Laboratory may help researchers attract more funding. "That’s what John would have liked," Harriet Wooten says. Indeed, her husband took part in the early stages of planning the gift. "He knew he wanted to do this," she says. "This is something that will last."
Since 2008, the Wooten Laboratory has initiated several important programs to promote the regional awareness of neurodegenerative diseases in aging populations and supported research collaborations. The Wooten Laboratory has sponsored and funded Wooten Lecture at the annual neuroscience symposium organized by East Carolina Chapter of Society for Neuroscience. A Wooten prize has been presented to the best student presentation at the symposium. The Wooten Laboratory currently funds 6 basic and clinical research projects with the emphasis on the molecular and cellular mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. The Wooten Laboratory holds a monthly focus group meeting to present research progresses and exchange ideas about research directions in neurodegenerative diseases. The Wooten Laboratory also has reached to local senior community and form connections with other regional Alzheimer’s foundations.