Dr. Romulo de Villa finished his M.D.degree from Far Eastern University - Dr. Nicanor Reyes Medical Foundation (FEU-NRMF) where he served as faculty of the Department of Biochemistry & Nutrition from 1985 to 2007. He has a Certificate Degree in teaching Biochemistry from University of the Philippines (UP) Manila obtained in 1985. He obtained his Ph.D. degree in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from the Molecular Biology and Biotechnology Program of the College of Science at UP (Diliman campus) in April 1997 with the help of the scholarship he received from the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development. He did his dissertation research on Methotrexate Drug Resistance of Human Carcinomas as a Research Fellow first at Section of Oncology of Boston University Medical Center then at the Division of Hematology & Oncology of the University of California Los Angeles - San Fernando Valley Program under the mentorship of Dr. Samuel Bernal and Dr. Yuk-Chor Wong. An aspect of his dissertation work was published in 1994 in Cancer Investigation.
After his return to his home institution at FEU-NRMF in 1996, he was promoted to Chairman of the Department of Biochemistry and Nutrition and was given a rank of Full Professor in 1997. He served as Chairman of the Department for 7 years. Dr de Villa served as faculty at the Department of Biochemistry, College of Medicine of Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila from 2007 to 2013. He became the Dean of the College of Medicine at Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) from 2008 to 2010.
Dr. de Villa served the Department of Health, first as a Consultant at the Molecular Diagnostic Laboratory of the Bureau of Research and Laboratories from 1997 to 1999, then as a Consultant at the STD-Aids Central Cooperative Laboratory from 2000 to 2001.
Dr. de Villa also served part-time at the Research and Biotechnology Division of St. Luke's Medical Center first as an Adjunct Research Scientist in 1996 then as a Scientist Consultant until 1998. Dr. de Villa also became Research Consultant at the Cancer Institute serving as Assistant Chairman of Research in 1998 then as Chairman of Research in 1999. Dr de Villa's expertise in Molecular Medicine was recognized in the year 2000 by the head of the Pain Management Center of St. Luke's Medical Center where he now serve's as a Visiting Consultant on the Molecular Biology of Pain.
Since his return from the United States, Dr. de Villa has been giving lectures to various institutions and organizations on different aspects of Molecular Medicine from one lecture in 1996 to once a month lecture in 2001. In 1999, he founded the Molecular Oncology Society of the Philippines (MOSP) with the objectives of (1) increasing the understanding of the molecular biology of cancer through year round lecture series and (2) providing opportunities for improving cancer patient care through research collaboration among scientists and physicians. He is the founding president of MOSP. He is an active member of several medical societies including the Philippine Society of Oncology (PSO) where he became President in 2012, Philippine Association of Academic Biochemists where he became President in 2000-2002, and Pain Society of the Philippines.
Dr. de Villa's current research interest includes (1) immune activating properties of phytopharmaceuticals, (2) diet and disease correlation: metabolic syndrome and cancer, (3) stem cell research for cancer immunotherapy, (4) liposome development for medical and cosmetic applications, (5) immunoliposome drug delivery systems. Dr. de Villa's ongoing researches include, (1) circulating tumor cell count as a metastasis marker, (2) effects of AHCC on dendritic cell maturation among breast cancer patients, (3) impact of a healthy eating plate on reversal of metabolic syndrome and (4) development of immuno-liposomes for targeted drug delivery. His publications include; a chapter on Molecular Biology of Cancer in the second edition of the book entitled, "The Philippine Handbook of Clinical Oncology", and an article in the FEU-NRMF Medical Journal entitled, "The Effect of d-Tocopherol Treatment on the Lipid Peroxidation of Liposomes Prepared from Chicken Egg Yolk Phospholipids and Commercial Phospholipid".