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Yasser Heakal, PhD, MBA, RPh

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Assistant Professor

Certified Graduate Member, Pharmacy (School of)

DAC 432



Dr. Heakal joined the D’Youville College School of Pharmacy in July 2012. Before joining the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, he completed a fellowship in translational cancer research at The University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center along with a pharmacy internship at the NC Cancer Hospital Oncology Pharmacy. 

Dr. Heakal is a member of the American Association for Cancer Research and a Registered Pharmacist in Connecticut, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.


Education & Training

Research Interests

  • Molecularly targeted cancer therapeutics and the associated resistance mechanisms
  • Targeted drug delivery
  • Cost effectiveness analysis and pharmacoeconomics  


Heakal Y, Kester M, Savage S. Vemurafenib (PLX4032): an orally available inhibitor of mutated BRAF for the treatment of metastatic melanoma. Ann Pharmacother 2011: 45(11);1399-405. 

Jiang Y, DiVittore NA, Kaiser JM, Shanmugavelandy SS, Fritz JL, Heakal Y, Tagaram HR, Cheng H, Cabot MC, Staveley-O'Carroll KF, Tran MA, Fox TE, Barth BM, Kester M. Combinatorial therapies improve the therapeutic efficacy of nanoliposomal ceramide for pancreatic cancer. Cancer Biol Ther. 2011; 12(7):574-85.

Heakal Y, Woll MP, Fox T, Seaton K, Levenson R, Kester M. Neurotensin receptor-1 inducible palmitoylation is required for efficient receptor-mediated mitogenic-signaling within structured membrane microdomains. Cancer Biol Ther. 2011 1;12(5):427-35.

Heakal Y, Kester M. Nanoliposomal short-chain ceramide inhibits agonist-dependent translocation of neurotensin receptor 1 to structured membrane microdomains in breast cancer cells. Mol Cancer Res. 2009;7(5):724-34.

Kester M, Heakal Y, Fox T, Sharma A, Robertson GP, Morgan TT, Altinoğlu EI, Tabaković A, Parette MR, Rouse SM, Ruiz-Velasco V, Adair JH. Calcium phosphate nanocomposite particles for in vitro imaging and encapsulated chemotherapeutic drug delivery to cancer cells. Nano Lett. 2008;8(12):4116-21.

Zolnik BS, Stern ST, Kaiser JM, Heakal Y, Clogston JD, Kester M, McNeil SE. Rapid distribution of liposomal short-chain ceramide in vitro and in vivo. Drug Metab Dispos. 2008;36(8):1709-15.


Developmental Research Award, UNC Linberger Cancer Center, 2010.
Graduate student travel award, 5th International Charleston Ceramide Meeting 2009.

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