Yasser Heakal

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Yasser Heakal, PhD, MBA, RPh
Assistant Professor
Certified Graduate Member, Pharmacy (School of)
DAC 432
(716) 829-8371


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.