James Eliason

Profile Updated: August 14, 2015
James Eliason
Residing In: Turkeve Hungary
Spouse/Partner: Maria Baracskai
Occupation: Retired stem cell scientist
Children / Grandchildren Daughter Antionia, born 1980
Grandson Leon, born 2014
Yes! Attending Reunion
School Story:

A bit of my story since graduation all those years ago. I attended the College of Wooster, where I majored in chemistry and played in the band, orchestra and pep band. Wooster, being a small Christian college for Small Christians has an excellent Chemistry department and after graduation, I went on to graduate school at the University of Chicago where I wanted to become a cosmochemist and determine the age of the universe.

Of course, plans did not work out the way I planned. As with most of my male classmates, I was in the first ever Viet Nam lottery. I applied for and obtained conscientious objector status, which meant that I had to serve alternate service for a non-profit in the field of heath, education or welfare. My service was as a research technician in the Argonne Cancer Research Hospital. It changed my life entirely. The field I was now in became my life work. When I finished my service, I switched to the Biochemistry department and did my thesis with Gene Goldwasser and was in his laboratory at the time the hormone that makes red blood cells (erythropoietin) was purified. While there, I met and married a Hungarian music teacher, Maria, with whom I am still living.

My passion became stem cells and when I got my Ph.D., thinking that might have educated myself out of a living, I applied only to overseas position with the idea that at least I could travel and see the world. Indeed, I did see the world, my first post-doc was in Manchester England, the next in the Netherlands, where my daughter was born. My first actual position was at the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research in Lausanne. I later moved to Basel, Switzerland to work in preclinical cancer research with the pharmaceutical company, Roche. After a couple of years, I was transferred to the Nippon Roche Research Center in Japan.

After Roche, I moved to the Karmanos Cancer Institute at Wayne State University. For a time was working in the hospital where I was born. I was in Detroit until I retired last year. I was involved in several biotech startups in addition to participating in the Cancer Biology Graduate Program at WSU.

I now spend most of my time in a small agricultural town in Eastern Hungary and when not here, we are either in Budapest for concerts and other cultural activities, or at our vineyard in Tokaj, partying it up. :-)

Anyone traveling to this part of the world should pay a visit.

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Jan 18, 2019 at 11:59 AM
James Eliason has a birthday today. New comment added.
Jul 17, 2018 at 8:11 PM

Posted on: Jul 17, 2018 at 4:33 AM

James Eliason posted a message.
Jun 30, 2018 at 12:43 PM

Happy birthday, John.

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Feb 01, 2018 at 6:20 PM
James Eliason has a birthday today. New comment added.
Jul 17, 2017 at 8:51 PM

Posted on: Jul 17, 2017 at 4:33 AM

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Jul 12, 2017 at 1:39 PM

Hi John, I guess I am a bit late for timely birthday wishes. I join you at 70 in a few days. What are you up to in your retirement?

James Eliason has left an In Memory comment for his Profile.
Jun 11, 2017 at 4:33 PM

I was saddened to read about Steve's death. I considered him one of my good friends in High School, but lost track after graduation, in part because my family moved away from Toledo the next year. Then, about 20 years ago, I was talking to Don Olson and he mentioned that he thought Steve and I were in the same field. Indeed we were. The cell line he developed, I had been using for my studies for years. I knew a number of people from the lab where he did that work as well as a number of people at the Institute were he worked for over 30 years. I just did not realize he was the same Steve Collins from high school. After that, we did exchange emails and I ran into people from his lab at scientific meetings but unfortunately, not him. 

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Jul 17, 2016 at 1:39 PM

Posted on: Jul 17, 2016 at 4:33 AM

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Aug 15, 2015 at 8:42 AM
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Aug 14, 2015 at 11:56 AM
Aug 09, 2015 at 12:50 PM
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Jul 18, 2015 at 9:37 AM
James Eliason has a birthday today. New comment added.
Jul 18, 2015 at 9:37 AM

Posted on: Jul 17, 2015 at 4:34 AM