Musicians and graduate degrees: The combination might seem strange, but plenty of rockers pursued graduate degrees in various fields. You might be familiar with such examples as Queen guitarist Brian May, who holds a doctorate in Astrophysics, or Greg Graffin of Bad Religion, who received a PhD in Zoology. Others include Sterling Morrison of Velvet Underground (PhD in medieval literature), the Descendants’ Milo Aukerman (PhD in biology), and Art Garfunkel (Master’s in Mathematics). The latest musician to add to the list is the Offspring’s Dexter Holland with his PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Southern California.
Holland recently successfully defended his dissertation and graduates today.
So what does a legendary punk rocker write his dissertation about? Apparently the molecular dynamics of HIV infection and virus:host interactions interest him.
He comments in a post on the Offspring website:
“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 andAIDS.This terrible disease remains a worldwide epidemic – over 35 million people worldwide are currently infected and living with the HIV virus.Over one million people a year die from this disease.
“My research is not meant to be a cure or even an immediate step toward a cure, but 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 began his doctorate years ago, but put the degree on hold when the Offspring’s tour schedule ramped up. Now that he finally graduated, Holland is excited to hit the road hard again with shows all over the world and record as much new Offspring material as possible.
Congrats, Dexter Holland!
If you’re interested in reading his dissertation, you can check it out here.