Science in our Valley

Published On: October 30th, 2018|Categories: News|
Science in our Valley

Scientists, and science educators, in the Wenatchee Valley have been gathering for the past year for a weekly research seminar series to connect with one another and bring their research to the community. This fall the community of local researchers from Washington State University, Wenatchee Valley College, the regional United States Department of Agriculture labs, among several others will welcome a pair of research scientists to learn more about the state and national issues that have impact locally.

On November 7th, at the WSU Tree Fruit and Research Extension Center will welcome Dr. John Roll. Dr. Roll is a professor and the Senior Vice Chancellor at the WSU Health Sciences campus. He will speak about the WSU Health Sciences programs and the Opioid crisis in Washington and across the United States. The presentation is scheduled from 4-5:00 at the WSU Tree Fruit and Research Extension Center.

On November 14th the Science in Our Valley Series will feature, Dr. Juan VillaRomero. Dr. VillaRomero is an EPA Star Fellow, and research scientist from UC Berkeley. His presentation will explore the tools and databases that have brought poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) to the forefront of discussions focused on drinking water quality, and the regulation of toxic substances to deal with the issue of environmental quality and public health. Dr. VillaRomero’s presentation will be held at the Wenatchee Valley College Grove Auditorium from 4-5:00.

Both presentations are free and open to the public. Educators who wish to attend the series can earn STEM clock hours for attending these seminars through the North Central Educational Services District.

About Dr. John Roll

John Roll earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from the University of Montana, a Master of Arts degree in psychology from Saint Bonaventure University, and a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Washington State University. He completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Human Behavioral Pharmacology at the University of Vermont and a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Substance Abuse Research at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor. He has served as a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry at Wayne State University, Director of Behavioral Pharmacology in UCLA’s Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, Director of the Washington Institute for Mental Health Research and Training, as the Associate Dean for Research in the Washington State University (WSU) College of Nursing, and as an Associate Vice Provost for Health Sciences at WSU.


He is currently a Professor and the Senior Vice Chancellor at the WSU Health Sciences campus. He is the Founding Director of the WSU Program of Excellence in the Addictions and the Co-Director of the WSU Translational Addiction Research Center.

Dr. Roll holds faculty appointments in the WSU Departments of Nursing, Psychology, Neuroscience, Prevention Science and Health Policy Administration. He also holds an appointment in the University of Washington School of Medicine- Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neuroscience.

He was appointed by WA State Governor Christine Gregoire as an Executive Commissioner on the Eastern State Hospital Advisory Board and as a Vice Chair of the Governor’s Council on Substance Abuse. Dr. Roll serves on multiple review committees for various agencies including NIH, CDC, SAMHSA, DVA, and the Parkinson’s and Movement Disorder Foundation.

Dr. Roll’s work has focused on human behavioral pharmacology, the development and refinement of behavioral interventions for addiction and other psychiatric disorders, as well as technology transfer issues. His research has recently been funded by NIH, DOJ, BJA, CDC, SAMHSA, and WA State Life Sciences Discovery Fund. Dr. Roll is a Fellow of the following organizations: American Psychological Association, Association for Behavior Analysis International, Association for Psychological Science and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

About Dr. Juan Villa Romero

Dr. VillaRomero is presently a research scientist in Biomonitoring – Department of Toxic Substances Control, CalEPA, with appointment to the Pallud lab in Microbial Ecology and Biogeochemistry. His work in analytical chemistry and public health, focuses on perfluorinated compounds (PFAS). Living bodies accumulate chemicals from the environment, and he generates data to monitor these chemicals in biological samples. The California Biomonitoring program monitors trends in the concentrations of these chemicals, and any potential effects on human health. In the case of PFAS, these can be detected in the human body and have been associated with some health concerns. Washington state just banned them from some consumer products and monitors the drinking water concentrations for these compounds.


Dr. VillaRomero previously studied Biology in Ecuador, but then moved on to environmental sciences at the University of Idaho, before his present assignment at the University of California at Berkeley.

The Science In Our Valley Seminar Series is hosted through a collaborative partnership between the Apple STEM Network, the United States Department of Agriculture Research Station, the North Central Educational Service District, Wenatchee Valley College, the Washington State University Tree Fruit Research and Extension Center, and is foundational to the BRIDGE Research and Innovation District.


The Science in Our Valley Seminar series is free to attend and open to the public. The content is intended for a ‘science-based’ audience including researchers, postdoctoral scientists, graduate students, undergraduate scientists, K-12 educators and science enthusiasts.


The Apple STEM Network is a three-dimensional alliance of K-12, Higher Ed and community partners. We represent a diverse region with tremendous potential for STEM industry in agriculture, energies and innovation. With our collective effort we intend to: provide a constructive support system for educators who aim to meet the rising challenge for all students to develop 21st century skills and STEM literacy, to integrate community mentorship, promote authentic project-based learning and field experiences for all levels of education, and engage students in exploring the world of opportunities on the horizon through STEM.


The North Central Educational Service District is a resource to the 29 districts within the four-county service area, providing professional and timely tools to meet the needs of individual schools and districts, and a reliable point of education-related information for the communities served. The NCESD is a respected resource to other ESDs throughout Washington State.


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Science in our Valley