Dr. Heikal received his Ph.D. in Microbiology from the Faculty of Science, Cairo University in 2011. He completed postdoctoral studies as a Fulbright scholar at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), USA. His research focuses on the study of plant-microbe interaction using cutting-edge technology. Dr. Heikal has been actively involved in both undergraduate and graduate education. 2017-2022, Dr. Heikal supervised the Department of Microbial Genetic Resources at the National Gene Bank (NGB), Egypt. At Gene Bank, Dr. Heikal and his colleagues have established the NGB Culture Collection which currently includes more than 1,000 identified microbial strains. During his career, Dr. Heikal has achieved collaborative research with several national organizations such as Cairo University, Ain Shams University, National Research Center, City of Scientific Research and Technological Applications. At the international level, Dr. Heikal has collaborated with distinguished universities and research centers in more than 15 countries including USA, UK, France, Spain, Mexico, and others. Throughout his career, Dr. Heikal has led several working groups in more than 10 research projects funded by several national and international organizations such as STDF, FAO, and USAID.
During his recent collaborative scientific project with the University of California (UCLA), Dr. Heikal and his colleagues could address new cultivation-dependent protocols for bringing “uncultured” bacteria into cultivation. These novel methodologies will help microbiologists in different fields to discover novel "untraditional" microbes that have several functions/applications. Currently, Dr. Heikal is paying a great attention in achieving multidisciplinary collaborations, for example, he collaborates with the University of Minnesota, USA on the discovery of novel bio-nano materials for reclamation of agricultural wastewater. Also, in line with the One Health approach, Dr. Heikal participates in two working groups, the first to determine the genomic machinery that determines the pathogenic or beneficial effect of soil microorganisms. The second is to examine the potential of microbes associated with wild plants as a new source of bioactive substances with high pharmaceutical applications. Through his career, Dr. Heikal has organized and participated in numerous international training courses and workshops in several countries including Egypt, USA, Spain, Italy, India and others. 2022-2023, Dr. Heikal worked as Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at the Faculty of Biotechnology, MSA University. In April 2023, Dr. Heikal crowned his achievements by filing a US Patent “US20230124894A1” describing plant growth-promoting bacteria from roots of wheat grown in Egyptian soils. Since September 2023, Dr. Heikal joined the School of Biotechnology at Nile University as a full-time Associate Professor.
- A Fulbright scholarship at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) 2015-2016.
- US Patent ““US20230124894A1” describing plant growth-promoting bacteria from roots of wheat grown in Egyptian soils.
- A peer reviewer in more than 15 international journals in the areas of microbiology and biotechnology
- Microbial Genetics
- Molecular Biology