Gladstone is composed of three institutes. The Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease, which opened in 1979, focuses on atherosclerosis and its complications. In 1992, the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology was established to study HIV, the causative agent of AIDS. The 1993 discovery that apolipoprotein E–long studied at the Gladstone Institute of Cardiovascular Disease for its role in heart disease–plays a role in Alzheimer's disease as well led to the establishment of the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease in 1998.
The three institutes are located at Gladstone's new research facility adjacent to the Mission Bay campus of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). While independent, Gladstone is formally affiliated with UCSF, and Gladstone investigators hold university appointments and participate in many university activities, including the teaching and training of graduate students.
Primary research efforts at the J. David Gladstone Institutes focus on three of the most important clinical problems of modern times: cardiovascular disease, AIDS, and neurodegenerative disorders. Cardiovascular disease, the nation's leading killer, claims the lives of over one million Americans each year. Despite more effective treatments, AIDS remains a leading cause of death in the United States. Worldwide, more than 40 million people are living with HIV/AIDS, and more than 21 million have died as a direct result of HIV infection. Alzheimer's disease, the most recent focus of investigation by Gladstone scientists, is the fourth leading cause of death in adults, affecting four million Americans. The realization of the impact of these diseases on world health infuses Gladstone scientists with a sense of purpose and urgency.