Division of Health SciencesThe Harriet and John Wooten Laboratory

Health Sciences Campus


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, by encouraging collaborative research on campus. The effort to establish a multidisciplinary, virtual research center has become possible because of the generous gifts from the 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." The family legacy continues when Dr. Lamont Wooten, the son of Dr. Harriet and John Wooten, joined the Wooten Advisory Board and pledged to support the important efforts to fight Alzheimer’s disease. 

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 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 the triple transgenic mouse core which supports 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 focus group meeting to present research progresses and exchange ideas about research directions in neurodegenerative diseases. The Wooten Laboratory also has reached out to local senior communities and form connections with other regional Alzheimer's foundations.

The Wooten Laboratory Administration

2009: The Wooten Laboratory Advisory Board was established and the Director of the Wooten Laboratory was selected

The Wooten Laboratory has installed an advisory board whose mission is to establish guidelines and by-laws for the operation of the Lab. The current advisory board includes:

  • Robert M. Lust, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Physiology; Chair of the Board
  • Mark Notestine, President, ECU Medical & Health Sciences Foundation and Associate Vice Chancellor for Health Sciences Development
  • Cheryl Knudson, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology
  • Lamont Wooten, MD, Eastern Orthopedic Group
  • Qun Lu, PhD, Professor of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Director of the Wooten Laboratory
  • Jian Ding, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Physiology

As the Director of the Wooten Laboratory, Dr. Qun Lu reports to the Wooten Advisory Board and the ECU Medical & Health Sciences Foundation.

2010: The Wooten Laboratory launched the website

The Wooten Laboratory, with the support and collaboration from Matthew Ballengee of Laupus Library Multimedia & Technology Services, has launched a website to introduce the Wooten Laboratory online. This website is cross linked to the Division of Health Sciences page and the Brody School of Medicine Departments & Centers page.