Gladstone Institutes was founded in 1979 from an endowment from J. David Gladstone.

Jack David Gladstone was a self-made man who pioneered a new trend in commercial real estate: the indoor, air-conditioned shopping mall. J. David Gladstone died in 1971, in the middle of building an ambitious shopping mall in Southern California. His assets, which included the unfinished mall, were valued at $8 million.

In his will, J. David Gladstone named three trustees: Richard S. Brawerman and Richard D. Jones, both lawyers, and David Orgell, a businessman in Beverly Hills. Together, they made the bold decision to finish what Gladstone had started, and completed the shopping mall.

The completed Northridge mall was subsequently sold and the proceeds used to start a not-for-profit foundation dedicated to cardiovascular research.

The trustees knew that the new research institute would need an affiliation with a research university, and unable to reach an equitable agreement in Los Angeles they sought a foothold up the coast, where in 1979, they established a relationship with UC San Francisco.

Originally focused on cardiovascular disease, Gladstone has broadened its research areas based on emerging trends in global health and technology.

To address the AIDS epidemic, Gladstone launched the Gladstone Institute of Virology and Immunology in 1991. Warner Greene was recruited as the founding director of the institute.

Gladstone expanded again in 1998 when it launched the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease to combat Alzheimer’s disease and appointed Lennart Mucke as founding director.

Entering the new millennium, what began as a single institute—cardiovascular disease—had grown to include two additional research enterprises with focus on neurological and viral diseases. Gladstone’s growth and desire to build a strong institutional culture in a rich scientific environment prompted the vision to build a new building in the emerging Mission Bay neighborhood. Gladstone moved into the new Mission Bay building in 2004.

With technology accelerating the pace of discovery and advances in data science needed to learn from big data, Gladstone launched the Gladstone Institute of Data Science and Biotechnology in 2018. Katherine Pollard was appointed as founding director.

Gladstone has had three outstanding presidents in its 40-year history. Robert “Bob” Mahley, the pioneering leader for over 30 years, R. Sanders “Sandy” Williams who further empowered scientists to translate their work into therapeutic and commercial ventures, and Deepak Srivastava who is steering Gladstone towards a new era of convergence between technology and biomedical research to overcome disease.