The Garvan Institute of Medical Research was founded in 1963 by the Sisters of Charity. Initially a research department of St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney, it is now one of Australia's largest medical research institutions with approximately 500 scientists, students and support staff. Funds for its establishment were provided by a hospital appeal. Helen Mills, the largest donor, asked for the centre to be named after her father, the late James Patrick Garvan (1843-1896), a distinguished New South Wales parliamentarian and business leader. Garvan's research programs are based around the major diseases in today's society: cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's; as well as eating disorders, and autoimmune and inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma. It specialises in genetic and molecular technologies, and emphasises collaborative research. The current director is Professor John Shine AO FAA.