Jesse Dylan Film Series Spotlights Gladstone Science

Films to be Featured on New Gladstone Website

The UCSF-affiliated Gladstone Institutes has joined forces with Jesse Dylan’s award-winning film company to raise public awareness — through a series of short films — about unmet medical needs that Gladstone scientists and supporters are addressing with a powerful blend of basic science and disease expertise.

Gladstone has been working to overcome some of the world’s most devastating illnesses for more than three decades. The independent biomedical research organization focuses on unraveling the basic fundamentals of science to find new solutions for cardiovascular, viral and neurological diseases.

"The scientists and staff working at Gladstone are on the cutting edge, in service of innovative change,” said Dylan, who is one of Bob Dylan’s sons. “Telling the story of their broad thinking, interdisciplinary methodology and daring research gives me hope that we are on the precipice of finding cures for complex diseases.”

Wondros, founded by Dylan, makes compelling films about complex topics for a variety of organizations including Harvard University, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the American Heart Association. Its 2008 “Yes We Can” presidential campaign ad about Barack Obama won an Emmy.

Each of the five short Wondros films about Gladstone features a unique component of the nonprofit’s biomedical research program. The first provides an insightful overview of Gladstone’s goal of unraveling the basics of science in order to overcome disease — all in under five minutes. Three of the four shorter films, each of which lasts fewer than 90 seconds, highlight diseases on which Gladstone focuses — those of the heart and brain, and those caused by deadly viruses. The fifth spotlights Gladstone’s revolutionary stem-cell technology work.

Gladstone is featuring the films on the new website

“Gladstone scientists combine concern for patients with curiosity about the fundamentals of biology in a distinctive — and perhaps even unique — blend of motivation and drive,” said cardiologist R. Sanders “Sandy” Williams, MD, who became Gladstone’s president in 2010. “We expect that our new films and website will increase public awareness about the ongoing devastation caused by these diseases — and how Gladstone is making a difference.”

The movies and website are part of a Gladstone campaign to increase recognition of three global health crises — at least one of which impacts virtually every family worldwide.

Cardiovascular disease — including heart attacks and congenital heart defects — is the world’s leading cause of death. Heart failure alone afflicts more than 23 million people around the world. HIV/AIDS — which has infected more than 60 million people around the world and killed 30 million since first being identified in the early 1980s — ranks among the deadliest infectious epidemics ever recorded. Neurological conditions — including Alzheimer’s Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease — are among the most devastating and complex illnesses plaguing mankind today. Estimates indicate that the global number of those who suffer from Alzheimer's disease will double to 34 million over the next 13 years.

“I'm very proud of what we have done and contributed — not just the science but a vision that benefits all humanity,” said Eugene “Rod” Roddenberry, a Gladstone supporter who is featured prominently in the film series. Thanks to a $5 million gift from the Roddenberry Foundation — established to honor the legacy of Rod’s father, Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry — Gladstone last year launched the Roddenberry Center for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine. “Inspiration is the most powerful thing around — and what Gladstone scientists are doing inspires us all.”