Einstein Mourns the Loss of Recently Departed Postdoc Trainee
Members of the Einstein and Asian American Pacific Islander communities were deeply saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Dr. Arpan De, a recent postdoctoral fellow in medicine and in molecular pharmacology at Einstein. Arpan had returned to India this March and, on April 24, had married Arkita Pal. His life was just beginning.
Arpan completed a three-year postdoctoral fellowship in Dr. Sridhar Mani’s laboratory, arriving at Einstein with a strong background in microbial genetics. “He was instrumental in developing and publishing new ideas in the field of microbes and intestinal inflammation,” said Dr. Mani.
Among his lab mates and other colleagues, Arpan was known as a team player who was ready to help anyone in or out of the lab. “He was a kind and gentle soul, benevolent, convivial, and generous to a fault,” recalled Dr. Mani. “He also was an exacting scientist and believed that one day he could help humanity through his science.”
He added, “Arpan’s latest paper, in the journal Gastroenterology—which is still in press but available online—is a testament to his independent ideas, work ethic, and execution. He was extremely productive in his Ph.D. and in an earlier postdoctoral stint, and had begun interviewing for a faculty position in India, although the COVID-19 pandemic delayed that process.”
Well-known and well-liked at Einstein, Arpan maintained a healthy work-life balance, making time for friends, who can still recall bittersweetly the well wishes they offered during their recent send-off for him as he returned to India and what appeared to be a bright and happy future.
“His death is a tragic loss not only to his lab mates, friends, and family but also to the scientific community at large,” said Dr. Mani, who thought of Arpan like a son. “He was already making significant contributions to science and medicine.”
Although just 34, Arpan had accomplished much in his short life and had high aspirations. The personal statement on his curriculm vitae noted: “A student of science inquisitive to know more about the basis of Life, investigating the complex genetic and biochemical interaction in cells, the intercommunication between species in a microbiome, and envisage a better form of nature friendly life.”
Before coming to Einstein, Arpan had earned his bachelor’s degree in microbiology at Bharati Vidyapeeth University, in Pune, India, while simultaneously getting an advanced diploma in industrial microbiology at the Serum Institute of India. He then earned a master’s in applied microbiology and biotechnology at Gour University, in Sagar, India and completed his doctoral studies at the University of Camerino, in Italy, where he also had a short-term research fellowship. (He was proficient in five languages, including his native Bengali, Hindi, Marathi, Italian, and English.)
Arpan then came to the United States, completing a postdoctoral research fellowship in the School of Dentristry at the Lousiana State University Health Sciences Center, in New Orleans, before joining the Mani laboratory.
Dr. Mani shared, “In his sorrow, Arpan’s father wrote to me, noting, ‘…his mummy feels that after his marriage he has gone back to New York and someday he will come back to us.’ This sentiment resonates with us at Einstein, as we deal with our own shock and sorrow. We feel someday he will be back with us doing the science that he loved.”
Editor's Note: If you would like to leave a remembrance of Dr. De, please visit our In Memoriam page.
Posted on: Tuesday, June 08, 2021