Offspring's Dexter Holland Finishes Ph.D, Thesis on HIV Research

The Offspring‘s Dexter Holland has finally finished the Ph.D program in molecular biology he put on hold years ago to focus on rock & roll. Amidst years of touring and recording, the singer-guitarist chipped away at his degree, conducting research and eventually publishing a 175-page dissertation on the molecular dynamics of HIV and general virus/host interactions. Holland graduated from the University of Southern California Thursday – and will return to the stage with the Offspring May 13th.

Holland’s dissertation boasts the interminably scientific title Discovery of Mature MicroRNA Sequences within the Protein-Coding Regions of Global HIV-1 Genomes: Predictions of Novel Mechanisms for Viral Infection and Pathogenicity. It’s available to read in full via USC.

“My research focused on the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, the virus which causes AIDS,” Holland said in a statement. “I am interested in virology and wanted to contribute in some small way to the knowledge which has been learned about HIV and AIDS. This terrible disease remains a worldwide epidemic – over 35 million people worldwide are currently infected and living with the HIV virus. Over 1 million people a year die from this disease.”

While Holland noted that his research was neither meant to be a cure, nor an immediate step towards a cure, he said, “I believe that by adding to the vast amount of information that we’ve learned about HIV in the last 30 years or so, we’ll get there. Toward that end, I’m going to continue to do research, and you’ll probably see some of my research papers get published here and there over the next few years.”

Holland was working on his Ph.D during the Offspring’s early years, but stepped away from the program when the band’s touring schedule increased following the release of their seminal 1994 album, Smash, which became the best-selling independent record ever. In a recent 20-year retrospective on Smash, Holland recalled to Rolling Stone: “I was pursuing a Ph.D. in molecular biology [at University of Southern California]. And then I put it on hold. My mom wasn’t too happy about that! My professor thought I was making a terrible mistake. But it wasn’t just like I was saying, ‘Fuck it.’ We could tell this was going to be something. And we had to see it through.”

With school officially over, Holland noted that the Offspring are about to embark on a massive world tour, with North American dates scheduled through July and another leg set to begin September 8th in Chicago. Holland added that the band would be “recording new stuff every chance we get. Look for new music by us out soon.”

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