Sandra Rizk

Professor of Biology

Dr. Sandra Rizk is a professor of biology in the Department of Natural Sciences. After teaching at AUB, Lebanese University, and NDU, she joined LAU in 2004.

She served as an assistant dean for the School of Arts and Sciences for two years (2012-2014), and as the director of Honors and Freshman Programs. She is the founding director of the Honors Program which spans across four schools at LAU, including AKSOB, SArD, SAS and SOE.


Dr. Rizk is the recipient of the LAU Teaching Excellence Award for the academic year 2017-2018.

Research Interests

Her current research interests are in:

  • Intracellular trafficking: investigating the effect of glycosylation on intracellular processing and association of glycoproteins with lipid rafts. Identifying biomarkers for lysosomal storage diseases.
  • Cancer chemoprevention, to identify food components that exhibit anti-tumor activities.
  • Nutrition, to investigate correlations between body composition, body shape perception, eating habits, and physical activity levels in university students.

SDGs Research Mapping

Dr. Sandra Rizk conducts research relevant to the following SDGs:

Selected Publications

  1. Toutounji M, Wanes D, El Harakeh M, El Sabban M, Rizk S, Naim HY. 2020. ER induced stress alters protein and membrane trafficking in intestinal Caco-2 cell line. International Journal of Molecular Sciences21(8), 2726; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21082726
  2. Hoter A, Rizk S, Naim HY. 2020. Heat shock protein 60 in hepatocellular carcinoma: insights and perspectives. Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences,7, 60. https://doi.org/10.3389/fmolb.2020.00060
  3. Idriss M, Hodroj MH, Fakhoury R, Rizk S. 2020. Beta-tocotrienol exhibits more cytotoxic effects than gamma-tocotrienol on breast cancer cells by promoting apoptosis via a p53-independent PI3-kinase dependent pathway. Biomolecules, 10, 577; doi:10.3390/biom10040577.
  4. Brogden G, Shammas H, Maalouf K, Walters F, Das A, Naim HY, Rizk S. 2020. Different trafficking phenotypes of Niemann-Pick C1 gene mutations correlate with various alterations in lipid storage, membrane composition and miglustat amenability. International Journal of Molecular Sciences,  21(6), 2101; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21062101.
  5. El Khoury M, Haykal T, Hodroj MH, Abou Najem S, Taleb R, Rizk S. 2020. Malva pseudolavatera leaf extract promotes ROS induction leading to apoptosis in Acute Myeloid Leukemia cells in vitro. Cancers 12(2), 435; https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers1202043
  6. Ammoury C, Younes M, El Khoury M, Hodroj MH, Haykal T, Nasr P, Sily M, Sarkis R, Taleb R, Khalife R, Rizk S. 2019. The proapoptotic effect of a Terpene-rich Annona cherimola leaf extract on leukemic cell lines. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 19:365 https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-019-2768-1
  7. Abou Najem S, Khawaja G, Hodroj MH, Babikian P, Rizk S. 2019. Adjuvant epigenetic therapy of decitabine and suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid exerts anti-neoplastic effects in acute myeloid leukemia cells. Cells 8 (12), 1480; doi:10.3390/cells8121480
  8. Ghanem P, Zouein A, Mohamad M, Hodroj MH, Haykal T, Abou Najem S, Naim HY, Rizk S. 2019. The vitamin E derivative gamma tocotrienol promotes anti-tumor effects in acute myeloid leukemia cell lines. Nutrients 11, 2808; doi:10.3390/nu11112808
  9. Haykal T, Nasr P, Hodroj MH, Taleb RI, Sarkis R, El Moujabber MN, Rizk S. 2019. Phytosterol-rich Annona cherimola ethanolic seed extract activates extrinsic and intrinsic apoptotic pathways in AML cells. Toxins, 11, 506; doi:10.3390/toxins11090506
  10. Abou Najem S, Khawaja G, Hodroj MH, Rizk S. 2019. Synergistic Effect of Epigenetic Inhibitors Decitabine and Suberoylanilide Hydroxamic Acid on Colon Cancer in VitroCurrent Molecular Pharmacology, 12 (4): 281-300; http://www.eurekaselect.com/170688

Academic Degrees

  • PhD, 2000, Institute of Biomedical Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, UK
  • MS in Biology, 1997, American University in Beirut, Lebanon
  • BS in Biology, 1995, American University in Beirut, Lebanon