The Offspring's Dexter Holland Earns Ph.D. in Molecular Biology

Just a scientist with low self-esteem.

Getty Images / Kevin Winter

The Offspring lead singer and former braids enthusiast Dexter Holland can now add a Ph.D. to his list of accomplishments.

On Thursday, the 51-year-old graduated from the University of Southern California with a doctorate in molecular biology. His final thesis, focused on HIV research, is titled “Discovery of Mature MicroRNA Sequences within the Protein-Coding Regions of Global HIV-1 Genomes: Predictions of Novel Mechanisms for Viral Infection and Pathogenicity.”

In an emailed statement to Rolling Stone, Holland said:

“My research focused on the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, the virus which causes AIDS. 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.”

The achievement has been a long time coming. Holland began pursuing his Ph.D. at the University of Southern California in the early ‘90s, but when The Offspring’s touring schedule picked up following the success of their album Smash, he decided to put his academic career on hold to focus on the band. He returned to his studies a few years ago and has been steadily working away at his degree in between recording and touring.

Holland isn’t the only musician to hold a pedigree from an institution other than the school of rock. Queen’s Brian May earned his Ph.D. in astrophysics in 2008, Greg Graffin, of Bad Religion, has a Ph.D. in zoology from Cornell, Ladytron’s Mira Aroyo has a Ph.D. in genetics from Oxford, and the Descendents singer Milo Aukerman has a Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

You can take a look at Holland’s thesis here, which also reveals his email address is

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