"Dmitry was absolutely brilliant, passionate and courageous. I truly enjoyed every minute I got to spend with him. My wife, Krissy, and I are going to miss him dearly. We extend our deepest sympathies to you and your family. The world lost a beautiful soul today and we will always cherish our wonderful memories of your son."
Chris Sibley B.Sc., MD, PhD
" He is such an amazing person and means so much to all of us. We have had really good times with him and he is one of the best scientists I have ever met."
Emilisa Frirdich PhD,
Postdoctoral Fellow UBC
"(He was) such a special person to me, I really enjoyed our times talking in the lab, and working together on projects at the end. I think my favorite thing was that (he was) always true to (himself) and I respected and enjoyed that. I felt like (he) "got it" about science and was going to make (his) mark... I hold (him) up to my students as an example of how to properly do science, to not care about the politics and to just focus on the experiments and what they are telling you.
Aaron White B.Sc., PhD,
Jarislowsky Chair in Biotechnology,
University of Saskatchewan
"Dmitry was a dear friend in our time in Mike's lab at the U of C. I wanted to tell him in my final emails, but I remembered how he would always roll his eyes if our conversations ever turned serious in the past. We liked to joke around; he had a wicked sense of humour and always could make me laugh. So in the final emails, I just kept telling him stories like old times. I hope he realized what a special friend he was. I will never forget him."
Amy Turnbull PhD,
Biology Professor, School of Applied Science and Technology,
"As one of the recipients of the Dmitry Apel Memorial Scholarship, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for this kind and generous award, which so well reflects the earnest character of Dmitry Apel, PhD. Over the years during our time in the lab, it was my pleasure to work and laugh with Dmitry, and to share new ideas, new experiments and interesting findings. Now those years seem like such a very short time, and I am left with only the memories of an exceptional friend.
This scholarship was established to celebrate the qualities of stoicism, honesty, integrity, and compassion in the pursuit of knowledge. These rare merits were found in abundance in Dmitry, and he radiated a sense of purpose and direction that energized those scientists around him. He was a catalyst for many of the positive changes in my work, and my work ethic. I always looked forward to poring over data with Dmitry; misinterpretation meant a serious discussion, but a well-executed experiment was met with approval and enthusiasm. His support was a critical prize to be won.Although it is bittersweet, I am proud to receive the Memorial Scholarship. The value of this award is that it will be given to those who also demonstrate a financial need. Through his interactions with many young scientists, Dmitry knew how difficult it is to focus on science in the face of everyday problems. I hope that future recipients are helped in the same way that Dmitry helped me to become a better researcher. I hope they are inspired to work hard, to work honestly, and to persevere so that they can advance our knowledge of the biological world.
Andrew Cameron B.Sc., PhD candidate UBC
Dr. Dmitry Apel scholarship recipient.
"Having been blessed the last few years to work side by side with Dmitry I was fortunate enough to get to know how brilliant, hard working, kind, and friendly he was. I am going to miss his combative nature, which made it so much fun, and so entertaining to be around him. He was also a brilliant man and scientist but I just want to reinforce how great of a person and friend he was. As I sit here trying to choke back tears trying to think of what to say I just get flooded by good memories. I think of all the times we needed to discuss science, experiments and life in general we would always take a walk where it would inevitably turn to him making fun of me. We had different view points in lots of things and the discussions that resulted from them are one of the things I am going to miss the most about him. He was always on the hunt for truth in its different forms and this hunt is what I think led him to be open to talk to people about any number of topics at any number of times. As you well know, he tried to give of a stoic and tough exterior, but he was always genuinely empathetic to his friends and really drew joy from their success. He never wished others to fail, and never wished for personal gain ahead of others. He is one of the most humble people I have met, yet possessed a unique energy that always set him aside from the rest of us. This energy and vigor is something that I was personally energized by and helped me work through many challenging times. I'm sure you are going to hear lots of words about how you raised a great scientist from the faculty, but having the honor to have spent a lot of time with him I want you to know that you also raised an amazing person and great friend who's virtues go well beyond what I can really put into words."
Mark Prijma B.Sc., PhD candidate UBC
Dr. Dmitry Apel scholarship recipient.
"He was such a special and gifted young man…I thought of him as a colleague more than a trainee and enjoyed his intellect, critical thinking and integrity. And of course his sense of humor and passion for all things. There was rarely a conversation in the lab scientific or otherwise where didn't contribute either a thoughtful or witty comment!"
Dr. Michael Surrette, B.Sc.
Department of Medicine, joint appointment in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences. McMaster University
"…please just know what a privilege it was to know Dmitry, and such an honor to be his Ph.D. supervisor. He touched all of us in so many important ways, and my sincerest thoughts are with you and your family at this very sad time. Dmitry’s stubborn bravery in the face of adversity was a lovely and admirable thing to witness, and should stand as an example to others"
Erin Gaynor BA, PhD
Canada Research Chair in Bacterial Pathogenesis
Department of Microbiology and Immunology
The University of British Columbia
“Dmitry was a very bright young man who was very passionate about science and I can imagine how contributing to science in his name would be very comforting to him and your email. I think it is a wonderful to set up a scholarship in his name and it will only help those individuals in the future. It’s truly a wonderful cause. I am happy to hear of Dmitry getting his PhD on the 27th…it is just a token but from what I knew of him it is still such a major accomplishment and I can also imagine having his family obtain his honoured degree in his name would also mean a lot to him.
Dmitry was one of my strongest role models. His passion for science, the rigorousness of his standards, and his ability to work through the ups and downs of research were truly inspiring. As a postdoc, I still keep him in mind when I’m planning my experiments, and I feel my future research will always be modeled after Dmitry.
I think we also shared a sense of humour. I’m pretty sure we also both had a tendency to value our privacy, and he was always very patient and respectful with me. He was also really supportive of my work, and graciously did experiments to clarify strange results coming from both of our projects (they were closely related). I regret not having been able to have the time to keep working on those observations so I could have put together a paper with him. I still hope, in their nascent state, that they may go into a future publication – but I wish I had the opportunity to actually write with him.
Perhaps my favourite memory of Dmitry was at the Banff Infectious Diseases conference last year, where he made special effort during his oral presentation to slip in that I had a newly minted PhD. As a rather reserved person I would normally be mortified, but coming from him I felt strangely proud – and for the first time since I had defended my thesis. It sounds silly, but he really touched me with that gesture and I try to remember it when I have doubts about my career.
I’m sure you know more than I how strong Dmitry was, and possibly you also already know what a good scientist he was – but I wanted you to let you know how much he has affected the lives of his peers. We have certainly lost so much yesterday, but nonetheless are blessed to have shared part of his (too-short) time here.
Sarah Svensson B.Sc., PhD UBC
"I defended my thesis about a year after Dmitry started in the lab. Finishing grad school was a difficult time for me, my project was hard and I didn't feel like I did as well as I wanted to. In the congrats card that the lab signed he wrote something really remarkable: "In the conflict between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins, not through strength, but by perseverance! - H.J. Brown. Dear Carla: Congratulations on a job well done. Your commitment and dedication have been rewarded and your PhD is something you should take great pride in." In the years that followed I looked at that a lot - his words meant a great deal to me - I felt like he was the only person who truly understood. I think I told him once how much his words meant, but I wish I had told him more.
Dmitry was brilliant, delightfully cynical, and would always have (us) laughing continuously at work. He was a joy to work with and SO SO smart. I also remember that when he talked of his littlest sister his eyes would light up - he truly loved his family.
Carla Davidson PhD
U of C
" I only knew Dmitry for a few years since my lab moved down next to Erin's. I soon noticed this little man with a baseball cap and pointy nose! He came up to me one day and mentioned that he had met me when I visited Mike Surette's lab at U. Calgary one time. I was impressed with his intelligence and knowledge about science and we often chatted. He showed me how to take photographs of my bacterial cultures and was always interested in what was going on in my lab. He had good suggestions and often unusual ones. Dmitry truly thought "outside the box".
Dmitry was someone special. He was the only graduate student from another lab who came to speak with me and discuss experiments. He knew that I liked to work in the lab and he often came to give me suggestions! I enjoyed his intellect and really appreciated his willingness to talk science: he was exceptional in this respect. I have missed our friendly and productive discussions, as will many others.
It is sad that such a bright light should have been extinguished so soon. I will miss him.
Professor Emeritus, B.Sc. (1953), Ph.D. (1956), Nottingham, UK, FRS
“ Dear Dmitry,
Erin let me the sad news about your health last night and I wanted to let you know that we are all heartbroken. There is great admiration for you as a scientist, colleague, lab member, and friend, in particular from Erin, Rachel, Julian, your labmates, and me. Your deep interest in science and your excitement about new discoveries enriched our department environment.
We all know how dedicated you were to your research and that completing your PhD was an important goal for you. Based on the body of work that you have accomplished, I have recommended to the Faculty of Graduate Studies that you be conferred the degree of Doctor of Philosophy as soon as possible. I have cited your 3 publications from Erin’s lab as well as the very exciting recent work that Erin and Rachel have told me about. Together this constitutes a very impressive body of work and an excellent PhD career that you and Erin can be very proud of.
Personally, I want to thank you for always being an outstanding colleague and friend to many people in the department. Your friends and lab mates here have incredible affection for you, and that’s the true measure of a person.”
Michael R. Gold, Professor and Head
Dept. of Microbiology and Immunology
University of British Columbia
"Even though Dmitry was not my student, I was quite aware of his work and I often chatted with him especially in the evenings. Dmitry was an excellent scientist. I often thought of him more as a colleague than a student. He was also very helpful to my students, showing them how to use the fluorescence microscope and how to set up their samples. They also enjoyed his leadership during the Microbiology journal club, which he championed. Dmitry used to call it the Pizza Club and it brings a smile to my face when I think about that.
Rachel Fernandez, Ph.D.
Microbiology & Immunology
University of British Columbia
"Tears filled my eyes and heart when I read your news about Dmitry. I have always been struck by his courage, intelligence, kindness, generosity and sense of family. He was truly one of the bravest people I have ever met!"
Regine Mydlarski, MD, FRCPC
Director, Immunodermatology & Transplant Dermatology
Departments of Medicine, Medical Genetics and Pathology & Laboratory Medicine U of C